Public consultation sees requests for toilets, cafe, and play facilities at Tiddenfoot Park in Linslade
Plans put on hold as possibilities for wider area are considered
Plans for visitor facilities at Tiddenfoot Waterside Park in Leighton Buzzard are to be put on hold, while a project covering a wider area is considered.
Nearby Astral Lake and Grovebury Lake could be linked into any scheme, a meeting heard.
The initial proposals were drawn up in a feasibility study following feedback from local residents, and were presented to Central Bedfordshire Council’s Leighton Linslade Partnership committee.
A cafe/restaurant area and toilets, with some extra parking, would be the main improvements, envisaged for Tiddenfoot Waterside Park. This includes the potential to revitalise the derelict stable block, Black Barn Stables, on this site, according to CBC’s active lifestyles manager, Howard Hughes.
Tiddenfoot Waterside Park is a 32-acre former sand quarry on the southern edge of the town. The main feature of the park is an 11-acre lake, with paths around it connecting to the Grand Union Canal and other nearby open spaces, said a report to the committee.
The report added: “Part designated a county wildlife site, it has a mix of grass, open woodland and scrub, and dense woodland. The lake has many species of wildfowl and other water birds, and is known for the quality of its angling.
“There’s a small play area, exercise stations forming a fitness trail around the perimeter route and picnic tables in the wooded areas. The waterside park forms part of the wider Ouzel Valley Park and is connected through improved paths to Southern Meadows and part of Grovebury Quarry. Tiddenfoot Waterside Park is well-used and provides a tranquil setting in which to see a wide range of birds and wildlife in a lakeside environment.
“The park doesn’t have anywhere people can take shelter, obtain refreshments or use toilet and baby change facilities.”
The report also identified potential build costs and income generation opportunities that could be achieved through annual rents.
Mr Hughes said: “It’s a well-used local open space in the south of Leighton Buzzard. The lake is well stocked with fish and used by Leighton Buzzard Angling Club.
“We looked at options to provide visitor facilities and to consider bringing back into use the space that is currently Black Barns Stables, which has been boarded up and derelict since around 2005.”
An online survey attracted 294 responses, with 274 indicating they were either occasional or regular users of the park. The main feedback was the facility people would use would be toilets, but there are currently none on site, Mr Hughes explained.
“Close behind that was refreshment or cafe facilities, and there was quite a lot of support for improved play facilities for children, as well as activity space for events or potentially for people to hire.
“Our preferred way forward based on the feasibility study was an option for a cafe building with toilets and a community room space partly on the current car park and on the stable block to avoid encroaching on the green space. That would allow for some of the stable site to be used for extra parking.”
The committee was asked to consider supporting the preferred option, but councillors agreed a proposal for officers to report back on the wider scale project involving the three sites.