On Thursday 1st May The Friends of Thorpe St Andrew Parks held our first AGM. below is copy of our Chair’s report:

The Friends of Thorpe St Andrew Parks was born out of a shared desire to enhance our local recreational spaces. As parents of young children we are regular users of the parks locally and further afield. This has enabled us to recognise the importance of having inspiring and adventurous play spaces, accessible to the local community.

18 months ago we approached the Town Council keen to volunteer our time, to focus upon creating an inviting social space for the whole community to enjoy, as well as meeting the need for basic facilities, such as more seating, shade and toilets.

As a parks advisory committee to the Town Council, our first goal was to assess how the recreational spaces are used and viewed by the community. A year ago we launched our 3 month public consultation with the support of Norfolk County Council. In addition to direct feedback we received from 3 local primary schools and the local secondary school. We received almost 1300 completed questionnaires and read every one to ensure we understand how the community views our recreational spaces. It became clear that the community also want seating, shade and toilets! A picnic area, café, more play equipment and a water park were some of the other suggestions that were put forward.

It became clear that to meet the expectations of the community a long term re-development plan was required, designed by a professional to make best use of the spaces. Baron and Smith, part of the NPS group supported us to write a design brief.

Today we have launched a competition to invite Landscape Architects to design a Master Plan of Laundry Lane Rec and Dussindale Park, based on information contained within the brief. The Town Council are kindly providing the prize fund for the winner. With the Master Plan, development can be managed as part of a staged approach as funds are secured. This is an exciting time; we are confident the end result will enhance Thorpe St Andrew for the community for many years to come.

Despite work and family commitments, the members of this group have proved their enthusiasm for this project by volunteering many hours of their time over the past 2 years and for that I would like to say a huge thank you! During each stage, professionals have offered their time and expertise to help us and for that we are extremely grateful; this would have been a very daunting task without them. Several members of the Town Council have also volunteered their time, in addition to other council duties, to support this project and I would like to thank the staff from the Town Clerk’s office for their administrative help and support.

During the next year, we aim to have a fabulous Master Plan of the recreational spaces, which will enable us to maximise the full potential of the parks. Some funding opportunities have already been identified, which should enable us to begin the re-development work and we will continue to work with the Town Council and local community to create further improvements.

I hope to continue working with this committed group of parents and friends and welcome offers of help and support from additional members of the community, for this exciting and very worthwhile community project.

Emma Smith
Chair of the Friends of Thorpe St Andrew Parks

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