AFTER opening over 130 years ago, and becoming neglected during recent times, Grays Town Park has been given a new lease of life through the hard work of a local group and the award of several grants.
The Park is now gradually being returned to its Victorian finest, and it is hoped many visitors will come to enjoy its gardens and a proposed new community café.
Grants from Thurrock Council, Riverside Community Big Local and a £10,000 award from Tarmac’s Landfill Communities Fund* have enabled the gardens to be overhauled and major landscaping work to be carried out, making the Park attractive once again to local residents and visitors to the area. This funding will be used for the transformation of the landscape garden on the East side of the Park. This will include removing dead trees, adding new plants, to help create biodiversity to encourage local wildlife, and a clean-up of the large decorative rocks.
As well as this work, the organising group, the Friends of Grays Town Park have plans to revamp the shelter, turning it into a community café; and upgrade the steps at the Bridge Road entrance, to allow for better access for people with disabilities and families visiting the Park. It is hoped the landscaping work will be completed and the café up and running by the end of May 2021. And the new entrance will be ready be the end of July.
Tina Holland from the Friends of Grays Town Park said: “This is a really exciting year for our Park. With the aid of these grants, we can start to return the Park to its former glory, whilst catering for our visitors’ 21st Century wishes.”
John Cox, Tarmac’s South East Terminals Operations manager who is based at the nearby West Thurrock Depot, added: “Given that the park was originally a brick quarry in the 1800s, it seems very appropriate that another building materials company, Tarmac has been able to award a grant for the landscaping work to take place.
“We are pleased that this important local green space will be rescued and improved so that the local community and visitors to the area can enjoy it again.”
The Park was formerly a brick quarry in the 1800’s. It was the first public space in the area to be given to the people in 1887. In 1930 a shelter was built in the park, by a local family in remembrance of their husband and father Jonathan Seabrooke, a prominent local businessman and owner of Seabrooke brewery in Grays. It remains a fine example of a Victorian park.