A new community park has opened in West Gorton – and it’s been dubbed the “sponge park” for the way it contributes to helping tackle the effects of climate change.
Designed in consultation with residents to benefit local people, wildlife and the environment, West Gorton Community Park is made up of three separate, interconnected spaces.
The woodland area has a planted “rain garden”, wetland meadow, picnic area, plus an informal play area with an outdoor climbing wall and timber play features.
A rain garden is defined by the RHS as “a shallow area of ground or dip which receives run-off from roofs and other hard surfaces. It is planted with plants that can stand waterlogging for up to 48 hours at a time. More drought-tolerant plants are used towards the edges. Storm water fills the depression and then drains.”
The park’s meadow area features orchard trees, picnic tables, edible hedgerows, exploration play and a stepping stone trail, while a garden area includes an event space, community growing space and seating.
There are clear pedestrian routes and road crossing points, to ensure access for residents from the local neighbourhood and to encourage people to walk or cycle to the park.
The park is the final element of the West Gorton regeneration programme, which has seen a transformation of the neighbourhood, with new housing and new community facilities completed over the last 11 years.
“This beautiful new park for West Gorton marks the completion of a major programme of regeneration, which has lasted for more than a decade, bringing high-quality new housing and community facilities to revitalise this neighbourhood,” says Councillor Suzanne Richards.
The park has been developed thanks to funding from the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme, as part of GrowGreen, a Europe-wide initiative.
GrowGreen aims to demonstrate how green infrastructure and nature-based solutions will produce climate resilience, environmental, social, and health and wellbeing outcomes and benefits.
“The creation of a brand new park is always an exciting occasion and, having been carefully designed in consultation with the local community, I’ve no doubt that the “Sponge Park” will be cherished by everyone who lives in West Gorton,” says Councillor Luthfur Rahman, who officially opened the new park.