THE Duke of Westminster has thanked the council for “grabbing the bull by the horns” to “resuscitate” Chester’s Grosvenor Park.
Officially opening the newly-restored park yesterday, he told the 200-strong crowd he had been “depressed” by the standard of upkeep at the iconic site.
But he went on to heap praise on Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWaC) for securing £2.3 million in lottery funding and carrying out the work.
His words came 147 years after his ancestor, Richard, 2nd Marquess of Westminster, donated the 20-acre site to the people of Chester for recreational use.
Speaking outside the new training and events pavilion, the Duke said: “I've been marginally depressed by the standard of upkeep at the park, which is why I’m absolutely delighted to be here this afternoon and to see the bull has been taken by the horns.
“Parks are a national treasure and they must be protected at all costs. It’s a great joy to see the work that’s been done and the effort that’s been put in.”
The £3.3 million, year-long project – which was due to be completed several months ago – has included remodelling and restoring the Grade II listed John Douglas Park Lodge to include a café and public meeting rooms.
The training and events pavilion, including public toilets and changing facilities, has been built in the Douglas style to replace the park’s former toilet block.
Other additions include a new play area near the miniature railway; parkland planting and restoration of walls, railings, steps and footpaths.
Besides the Heritage Lottery Fund grant, about £1m came from council coffers and £30,000 from WREN, the non-profit making company dedicated to environmental improvement.