A listed park that appeared in a Netflix drama has ‘fallen into disrepair’, residents say – despite the council receiving money to spend on the place. Stamford Park, in Altrincham, Trafford, featured in The English Game, about two 19th Century footballers on opposite sides of a class divide.
The 16-acre site was one of the first public parks to open in England in 1880 and has Grade II-listed status. The Friends of Stamford Park – an independent group which works with Trafford council and its service provider Amey to maintain and improve it – say ‘it is now not fit for purpose having fallen into disrepair’, blaming ‘cuts in council funding’.
They say there are ‘lots of gaps around the playground, meaning children could go out to the road next to it in seconds’; paths need resurfacing; swings removed during the pandemic haven’t been replaced; and that it is generally in ‘a dire state’.
In 2019, the council received £15,000 payment for the Netflix drama, starring lead actors Edward Holcroft and Kevin Guthrie, to spend on the park, but years later, it’s still sitting in council coffers.
The Friends say they have struggled to get hold of anyone at the council to discuss it, ‘making it almost impossible to come up with a plan’.
“Netflix chose the park due to its heritage status and the money was supposed to be spent on the park,” said Dia Barrett, of the Friends group.
“The council are yet to hand over any of this money. Stamford Park deserves much better. It should be a well-loved focal point for the communities of Hale and Altrincham.”
In 2021, Dia set up a petition demanding the council bring the park up to an acceptable standard. It was signed by more than 500 residents.
Dia, mum to Leo, six, and four-year-old Luca, said a recent visit they made to Bruntwood Park, in Cheadle, Stockport, only highlighted how neglected Stamford Park and others in the Trafford Borough have become.
She questioned why they don’t seem to benefit from section 106 funding, which developers give to local authorities as part of planning permission agreements.
A spokesperson for the One Trafford Partnership said: “Trafford Council has provided considerable capital investment for Stamford Park in recent years, at a time when budgets are extremely tight. Between 2017 and 2020, £137,000 was spent on refurbishing the tennis courts and basketball court, carrying out drainage works on the main oval green, repairing the under fives play area and installing a new climbing frame in the junior play area.
“More improvements are scheduled this year, with £20,000 to be spent on fencing for the bowling green and an additional £20,000 on repairing footpaths. These provisions have allowed for improvements to be made without using the money raised by the filming in the park, which is still available. Discussions are ongoing and the team will be in touch with all stakeholders, with a plan in due course.
“In addition, dedicated teams visit the park regularly to maintain the grounds and empty litter bins. This is supplemented by inspections carried out by the team, in partnership with the Friends group, allowing issues to be actioned to help keep the park looking its best.”
The Friends group said: “We appreciate the money spent on the park, but it’s been for maintenance rather than any improvements. The council agreed years ago to bring Stamford Park to a green flag status, but it never happened.
“The play area doesn’t have enough equipment and is of a very low standard especially considering the catchment area. Over 500 locals signed the petition asking the council to bring the playground up to a modern standard which has so far been ignored.
“We are asking the council to agree to a plan and budget for updating the park. We can then start to do our own fundraising and use the Netflix money. The park is so important to improve mental health, combat obesity, provide a safe place for children to meet their peers.There’s also no inclusive play equipment at all for children with disabilities, which in this day and age should be an absolute must.”
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