Developing (and winning) the Bid

Opened in 1890, Poole Park is the most popular public open space in Poole

Although most people recognise that Poole Park is a nice place to visit, parts of the infrastructure and features we value are deteriorating, becoming harder to maintain.

These include heritage items such as the bridge and surrounds of the sluice gate, areas of hard surfacing, the play area on West Field and the gradual erosion of the Park’s original Victorian design.

In August 2014 Borough of Poole and the Friends of Poole Park submitted a bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) Parks for People Programme for Poole Park Life, a £2.7m improvement project.

The Parks for People Programme application was a two-round process. The success of our First-round application was announced in January 2015, allowing us the funding and the time (two years) to develop our ideas before submitting the Second-round application – the main bid.

The main bid was submitted at the end of February 2017.

The HLF trustees met at the end of June 2017 and came back with a YES, adding that they thought it was a very strong project!


Raising awareness, developing plans & proposals
Please Note: links below will take you to archived project pages and open in a new window

Developing the Bid 2014

Introducing the project to local residents and park users of all ages; developing initial proposals

Development Phase 2015

We ran a full programme of activities and events throughout the summer, encouraging people to get involved

Poole Park 125

Approximately 3,000 people joined in the Poole Park 125 celebrations, marking the park’s 125 year history

Poole Park Photo Mosaic

We also worked with the Poole Park Heritage Group to collect thousands of photographs and raise funds towards our target


Consultation time - making sure we are on the right track

During 2016, having developed our six project themes, we embarked on a final period of ‘Have your Say’ style consultations, drop-in events and workshops with local residents, user groups and other stakeholders that have an interest in the park, presenting plans that had evolved from our work during 2014-15. 

The results can be found in each of the project theme pages:

  • Lakes & Drainage – better understanding the issues required for better informed management decisions
  • Play – improving existing play areas and introducing a play landscape for all ages and abilities
  • Access – (originally named ‘Traffic’) redesigning elements of the park to try to reduce traffic volume, slow vehicle speed and prioritise pedestrians
  • Heritage & Landscape – restoring original features and enhancing their setting
  • Geese & Wildlife – seeking to control geese and wildfowl numbers and better management for wildlife
  • The Future of Poole Park – ranging from new management and maintenance plans to guidance for park furniture (lights, bins, benches etc) and long-term tree strategies.


A partial road closure was trialled in Poole Park throughout July 2016 as part of the funding bid.

Throughout the trial, the council not only monitored the effects of the road closure but sought the views of all park users during the final phase of public consultation.

Feedback during previous public consultations clearly showed that park users wanted the level of traffic through the park to be reduced during peak times.

Therefore the road between the middle car park, near the roundabout, and the Kitchen Restaurant was closed between 4pm and 6pm every weekday from 4th-29th July 2016. In addition the park was open to vehicles an hour earlier at 9am throughout the same period.

The trial aimed to:

  • support the council’s consultation work as part of Poole Park Life as well as provide evidence of the impact a road closure might have on traffic volumes and the improvement it provides for park users;
  • enable the park to remain open with full access to all car parks, businesses and concessions, as just a section of the through road will be closed;
  • make use of the term time and school holiday traffic flows to monitor the effects during these periods.


The Heritage Lottery approved our funding bid!

The success of the funding bid moved us into a four-year Delivery Phase during which we will be making the improvements and further engaging in new activities with park users, local communities and stakeholders.

As a first step we created a new Project Calendar listing all the works and activities that would take us through this Delivery Phase, updating the calendar as things developed, to make it easy for website visitors to track project progress.

To everyone that was involved in developing the bid – whether you completed a questionnaire, attended a guided walk, chatted with us over a cup of tea, organised an event, raised funds or paid to upload a photo to the Photomosaic – you played a part and helped us deliver this for the “People’s Park”, thank you.
A reminder of the past couple of years