Councillors Richard Ormerod, David Freeman & Mandy Ross

Liberal Democrat Councillors for Elvet, Crossgate, Highgate, Sidegate, St Nicholas and Gilesgate Bank Learn more

Carole Lattin on exciting new park project

by Group Office on 20 February, 2021

Dragon Park is situated off the public footpath which leads from Sherburn Road up to Laurel Avenue Community Primary School. It provides a route up to the disused sports field, from which there is one of the best views of Durham Cathedral and down to Pelaw Woods and the Riverbanks.

Councillor David Freeman interviewed Carole Lattin from the Gilesgate Residents’ Association about the new project:

DF: What is the background to this new project?

CL: A few years ago, a project tried to turn this area into a nature reserve. A local artist called Graeme Hopper designed and installed many attractive art pieces such as a dragon’s head, a miniature castle, pennants, dragon scale benches and gates, signposts, notice boards and waste bins. Marks and Spencer donated and planted some bulbs.

DF: So why is a new project needed?

CL: Unfortunately there was no provision for maintenance of the site. The stone circle was a focus for drinking, drug taking and setting fires and it became a dangerous place full of broken glass and needles. Many trees were vandalised and there is graffiti on nearby walls. The place became a tangle of brambles, litter, fly tipping, dog fouling and weeds.

DF: Has Covid-19 prompted the need for change?

CL: During the recent lockdowns, the area has been more widely used, both for itself and as a route to other walks. If the paths were made safer and benches provided and a couple of picnic tables put in, the community would be able to use the area as a social place, including Laurel Avenue Primary School.

DF: So what’s happening?

CL: Gilesgate Residents’ Association have applied for £13,637 in Section 106 money. If successful, two benches and three picnic tables will be added. Bramble bushes will be cut back. Footpaths will be repaired and cleaned. The dangerous stone circle is being removed. The grass around the Dragon’s Head is to be cut and a safe surface put in with a membrane and bark chippings. The ground is to be re-seeded with wildflowers and the signs cleaned and repaired.

DF: How will the park be looked after going forward?

CL: The council’s Find and Fix Team have agreed to maintain the area twice a year. Gilesgate Residents would establish a Friends of Dragon Park group to hold regular litter picks. Graeme Hopper has agreed to work with us to renovate his installations.

DF: Sounds great. Cllr Richard Ormerod and I wish the residents’ association every success.

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