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EDITIONS
Wednesday, 11 December, 2002, 13:10 GMT
New life for 'oldest park'
Derby Arboretum
People avoid the park because of fear of crime
A 5.5m restoration project is underway to attract people back to Britain's oldest public park.

Derby's Arboretum was given to the city by local benefactor Joseph Strutt in 1840.

But in recent years the park has become overgrown and is avoided by people because of fears over crime.

Now the city council is installing CCTV cameras giving complete coverage of the park and many of the old buildings are to be renovated.

Central park

The restoration scheme, which has been funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, will also see a new centre of park building go up.

It is currently suffering from a very poor image

Karin Aberg, Restoration project
There will be an office for the local police beat officer and a cafe.

One of the old buildings will turned into a historical interpretation centre for people to learn about the arboretum's history.

There will also be a full time ranger employed to maintain the park, which was the inspiration for the men who designed Central Park in New York in the US.

The security cameras are expected to go live in January while restoration work is expected to continue until September 2005.

'Incredibly special'

Karin Aberg, of the Arboretum Smiles Again project, said: "It is currently suffering from a very poor image.

"The park has been maintained but not to the level it should have been.

"Currently a lot of people avoid it because there is a perception it isn't a safe place to go."

Park feature
The park is said to be the UK's oldest

A friends of the arboretum group is also being set up to oversee the project.

Ms Aberg said: "This park was given to the people of Derby.

"We have got something incredibly special and what we want to do is get that across and bring people back into the park."

The website for the arboretum suggests it is the oldest public park in the country.

It says research has shown there were no public parks either donated or bought through public subscription before 1840.


Click here to go to Derby
See also:

19 Sep 02 | UK
18 Sep 02 | N Ireland
28 Jun 02 | UK
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