Home Community and neighbourhoods Upgrades to Mill Dam Park, Kirkby

Upgrades to Mill Dam Park, Kirkby

by Gemma Melling

Mill Dam Park in Kirkby is currently undergoing an upgrade. The latest improvement programme has been developed following extensive public consultation, which began back in 2017.

This latest work is part of the wider masterplan for the site which aims to bring the facilities at Mill Dam Park up to modern standards and provide an interesting and engaging environment for park users both now, and in years to come.

The current work

 The current work being undertaken includes:

  • The replacement of old play equipment with new modern metal climbing units, cable wire and children’s and toddler swings.
  • The creation of a new trim trail
  • New safety surfacing installed
  • New paths connecting the play area to the existing network
  • Entrance improvements which will include removing old gates and installing new restrictive features (to prevent vehicular access) that are disability friendly.

The majority of work is due to be completed by end of July with the trim trail to be installed in September.

Residents asked for their views

All of the improvements at Mill Dam Park have been subject to extensive consultation over a number of years.

Back in 2017 the council wrote to 400 households in the local area inviting people to attend a number of consultation drop-in sessions. At these sessions, park users were asked their views on the things most important to them and their aspirations for the park in the future.

The three key priorities that emerged from park users were:

  • The desire for a welcoming and accessible building with café and toilets
  • Improving the play space and providing more interest and excitement for children
  • New and improved footpaths

These findings were then used to develop a Masterplan for the site, working with The Mill Dam Park stakeholder group. This group consisted of people and organisations involved in the park such as Pedal Away, Kirkby Walking Group, Mill Dam Angling Association, Kirkby Sea Cadets, local residents and Ward Councillors.

Once the masterplan was developed it was shared widely with the community and used to help shape the improvement programme for the site. A further review of the masterplan for the park took place in 2018 which resulted in further enhancements being agreed to improve the play areas and toddler facilities.

This also led to further consultation – most recently in May 2021 with pupils from Ravenscroft School who were asked to give their views on the plans and select items of equipment to be included in the park.

Keeping people up to date

The Masterplan for Mill Dam Park was shared widely in the community including on notice boards around the park site, via community messaging text / email alert system, on the council’s website and through social media too.

In addition, the stakeholder group continued to keep residents informed with letters updating them on the improvements and plans.

If you are interested in being part of the Friends of Mill Dam Park please get in touch with Knowsley Councils Green Space Ranger for Kirkby , Louisa Bibby Louisa.Bibby@knowsley.gov.uk.

 Funding secured

 The Mill Dam Park Stakeholder Group successfully secured £417,000 to make improvements to the park. This included funding improvements to the park’s walking, cycling and running routes, football pitch, drainage, public realm and work on woodland to improve visibility and lighting.

A café is planned

 A tender opportunity was undertaken between August and October 2019 regarding the provision of a café in the park. This was advertised locally through the stakeholder group and on Knowsley Council website.

The grant of a lease was formally awarded to Espositos in February 2020, but due to the Covid 19 pandemic the Lease was put on hold. This has however now been completed and this important element of the development is progressing well.

Vehicles speeding within the park

 In response to a number of concerns raised by residents, local ward councillor Louise Harbour, is in discussion with the council’s Highways team regarding additional measures that would help to address the issue of vehicles gaining access to the site. Local residents will be kept updated once these discussions have concluded.

In the meantime it is hoped that the new bollards that are planned will help to alleviate these issues. The imminent opening of the new café will also result in a regular presence on site which will help to deter and identify any further issues with anti-social behaviour. This will be closely monitored.

In the meantime, residents are urged to report any issues to Louisa Bibby Green Space Ranger based at Mill Dam Park on 07810054097 or 0151 443 4395 or email Bibby, Louisa.Bibby@knowsley.gov.uk , to ensure the council and partners are able to keep the park a safe and enjoyable place for the whole community to enjoy.