Human 'Wombles' reclaim their park

A BAND of 90 residents and volunteers worked for two days to spruce up the neglected Eastfield Park as part of a project to reclaim and regenerate the space.

The park, which has become a magnet for burnt out cars and gangs of intimidating youths, was reclaimed yesterday by a group of residents led by the Friends of Eastfield.

Congregation members from nearby Broadmead Baptist Church, members of Eastfield Angling Club, Moulton College, and conservation group BTCV also mucked in. Over two days the team cleared the ponds and lake of rubbish, cut back undergrowth, cleared fallen trees and picked up litter. Representatives from the Environment Agency will be there tomorrow to clear reeds out of the lake.

Linda Martin, Northamptonshire County Council's neighbourhood co-ordinator for Eastfield and Headlands, said: "This is the first step to regenerate this beautiful park, one of the hidden gems of the town. We are looking to enhance the sports pitches and natural features.

"Our ideas include natural play areas and maybe a cafe near the lake to get the park more widely used. We think if we can reclaim it for people and get it used more, the anti-social behaviour will drop. I'm keen to get young people involved and using the park in a positive way."

Jane Campion, community development officer for Northants Acre and the River Nene Regional Park, said: "The park has been under-utilised and people don't tend to use it in the best light.

"To keep it in this state after the work, we need to work out what the people want and what they would like to see here."

A consultation event and fun day will be held on Saturday, March 31, from 11am to 3pm in a marquee on the park.