For over 50 years, Millacre, near The Croft in Sudbury has been home to a memorial boating lake. In recent years the continued deterioration of the concrete structure, ongoing cost of repairs and the boating lake's infrequent use for it's original purpose, has highlighted the vital need for Millacre's refurbishment and to re-establish the site as an attractive, open, green public space.
The proposal outlined below seeks to make the area more family friendly and encourage greater biodiversity. Community feedback is being sought on the proposed conversion of the boating pond into “serpentine grass mounds” with complimentary planting and recreation areas.
The site is an incredibly valuable public space that marks an entry point to Sudbury's ancient water meadows and riverside from the town centre, so it is vital, as a Town Council that the views of local residents are invited for the future of this space.
Site of Millacre and The Croft, Sudbury, Suffolk.
Agreed in principle by Sudbury Town Council last week, subject to public consultation and detailed costings, the plans suggest a double mound design for informal play to replace the pond, with a concrete footpath running in between them.
In addition, there are plans to enhance the picnic area with new benches, add more trees, boulders and bug-friendly plants and improve the existing foliage, while the popular wooded area will be retained.
The proposals were developed in response to the declining condition of the pond, which was created as a tribute to local residents Roger and Margaret Green, who died in an aircraft crash in Rijeka on May 23, 1971, while on holiday with sons Simon and Ian. The boating lake subsequently became the site for an annual boat race and the 'Wild in the Stour Valley' event.
However, the falling use of the pond in recent times, as well as serious leaks that would require significant funds to repair and maintain, has led it to consider alternative uses that are in keeping with the original intent of a family-friendly recreational area.
Sudbury Town Clerk, Ciaran Griffin, comments:
“The estimated cost of repairing the boating pond is about £25,000, and there would be additional high annual maintenance costs to keep it in good condition.
The number of local people using the pond to sail model boats has fallen, and now seems too low to justify such a large investment of public money.
The town council has considered a wide range of options, including changing the area into a lily pond, a raised flower bed or an informal play area".
“The recommended option is to remove the boating pond and reprofile the rubble into a grass-covered double mound.
“This would be surrounded by a wide range of features to encourage families to visit, picnic, barbecue, and for children to play and discover more of their natural environment. This could be enhanced with a purpose-built adventure play area.”
It is also vital that a lasting memorial for the Green family is continued and therefore the refurbishment proposals for Mill Acre include a restored memorial.
Town Councillor, Oliver Forder, who led the Mill Acre working group that developed the proposals, told last Tuesday’s council meeting:
“The Millacre working group and the leisure and environment committee thought the sepentine mound proposals would harmonise very well with the area, and would become a popular space for play by children and for families to meet.”
We want to hear the views of as many people as possible before advancing the proposals, and welcome suggestions on how residents would like to see the area used.
Comments must be sent in by Friday, May 7, ahead of the monthly full town council meeting the following Tuesday.
To submit your views about the future of Mill Acre, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
or write a letter to Sudbury Town Council, Town Hall, Sudbury, Suffolk, CO10 1TL
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