Friday 14 September 2012

Goodbye to the old Level

A last look at the southern section of the Level before it is closed for extensive restoration:
Looking south
On the left is the graffitied skatepark, which will become a garden and petanque court; in the centre a bleak, unnecessarily large, area of paving; to the right a toddlers' play area with seating for parents, this will be replaced by an outdoor seating area for the new cafe and a sensory garden. In the distance are a few scattered swings etc. for older children.

The existing skatepark
This area had always been paved and contained playground equipment but was orginally screened by a wisteria, rose-clad pergola. The pergolas are to be reinstated as part of the restoration scheme.

Looking north-west
The very unsympathetic paddling pool occupies a small fraction of the original model-boating lake the extent of which is indicated by the pink paving. The lake was cross-shaped and each of its two lateral arms extended under the bridges towards the pavilions. The pavilions, one of which is shown above , were shaped to curve around the ends of the lake. In the distance is a gardeners hut which is to be replaced by a modern cafe. Remnants of the pergola are still to be seen in front of the pavilions.

With one exception, every play or leisure feature has been included as a result of suggestions by the public during the fraught but extensive public consultation carried out by the Park Project Team. The exception was, I believe, the substitution of fountains for still water over the whole footprint of the original lake. This was justified on the grounds of safety and ease of maintenance.

Unbelievably, some people, perhaps only a few, are still voicing somewhat nebulous objections  about the restoration scheme. It seems that they are comfortable with what to them has become familiar; perhaps overlooking that, to another section of the population, the Level's desecrated, neglected state has provided a source of grievance for decades.


  1. The plans do look inpressive, but often plans and reality dont always match!

  2. True. but I doubt they can make it worse . . .


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