A TINY scrap of derelict land in Darlington is set to become Britain’s smallest park.
Nestled underneath an advertising billboard currently promoting the UK Independence Party (UKIP), the humble patch of land could soon garner national attention.
A group of Darlington residents have banded together in a bid to transform the unkempt site into Councillor Gerald Lee Park, named after the town’s new mayor.
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Once complete, the park will be pitted against Prince’s Park in Burntwood, Staffordshire in a bid to be named Britain’s Smallest Park.
Measuring about 25 square metres in total, Councillor Gerald Lee Park will be an “environmentally aware space” featuring plants, free drainage and a recycled bench.
Pride of place will be given to two “wish bushes” where people can hang labels paying tribute to loved ones or write their hopes for the future of the planet.
The park, at the corner of South Feethams and Victoria Embankment, is being created by members of the South Terrace Residents Association in conjunction with Guerilla Gardeners Darlington Division.
The project is also backed by fellow resident and local Labour councillor Paul Harman, who suggested naming the park after Conservative councillor Gerald Lee in recognition of his contribution to environmental issues in Darlington.
Councillor Lee, who takes over as mayor today (Thursday, May 14), joked: “Fame at last. It would be nice to have a ship or a tower block named after me but a little park is a nice thing.”
He added: “It is a lovely idea and it is great to see people taking ownership of little green spaces for the benefit of the community.”
Stephen Twist, who is helping to co-ordinate the project, said it would demonstrate the difference people can make to their neighbourhoods and act as a “prod” for the council to prioritise environmental policies.
Resident Amanda Llewellyn said: “I think it’s a fantastic idea. I’ve got four young children and we walk past it all the time.
“It is part of our little community but at the moment it’s just a patch of mud where the dogs go so I think it will be fantastic to develop it.”
The Northern Echo was unable to ascertain the exact measurements of current record holder Prince’s Park, with one Lichfield Council staff member joking: “If we tell you that, you’ll just make yours smaller.”