17. Riverside & Ludwell Valley Parks Masterplan
Exeter City Council has produced a master plan for the Riverside & Ludwell Valley Parks. The masterplan was approved by the Council's Executive Committee on 9th February 2016 and can be downloaded here [15MB].
The need for this plan is driven largely by the growing population of the city, which is having an indirect impact on the Exe Estuary, a protected European wildlife site. This impact has to be mitigated, by law. One of the elements of the mitigation strategy is the enhancement of alternative natural greenspace, and the Council has identified these two Parks for this purpose. We need to make the Parks more attractive for people, particularly those walking the dog, thus taking pressure off the estuary and its wild bird populations.
What's in the plan?
Fundamentally, the plan sets out where new areas of public recreational space can be created, and where improvements to existing space can be made, for example through planting orchards, providing shelter, and creating new footpaths. Some Park visitors need to arrive by car, so additional car parking is proposed. That said, the plan prioritises walking and cycling infrastructure, and linkage with buses and trains, particularly the new rail station at Marsh Barton.
The plan was funded from a Government grant, whilst the works to enhance the amount and quality of recreational space will be funded from development via the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL). Up to £1 million may be available, depending on housing growth. This might not be split evenly between each Park. Additionally, some aspects of Park improvement are unlikely to be funded from the CIL and will necessitate bids, for example to the Heritage Lottery Fund or Arts Council.
Consultation and delivery
A survey has been completed by interviewing 110 visitors to both Parks over 4 days. A user group has been established, with representation from community groups, clubs, charities, and landowners. Detailed planning and delivery of the projects in the plan is now underway.