|HCC Site ID.||1637||Parish:||Fareham|
|Access:||Public Access||Ownership:||Fareham Borough Council|
Location and Site
The recreation ground lies on the eastern edge of Fareham town centre and is bordered on all sides by houses in a middle-income area at Heathfield, north of the A27. Vehicular access is from Blackbrook Road, with a pedestrian access from Friars Pond Close, Place House Close and Chatsworth Close. The park lies on very even land and being surrounded by bungalows and houses, there is little view either in or out. It comprises 3ha.
The land was purchased by the then existing Council in two parcels in 1961 and 1965 and a recreation ground possibly created at the same time as the housing development which surrounds it. Oak trees have always formed one boundary, a remnant of a former agricultural landscape. At the time of the Urban Parks Survey conducted in 1995, the major assets were described as the oak trees in the NE corner. Further the survey states ‘ The park is in fair to poor condition and would be greatly improved by further improvement’ and is described as ‘…a dull flat open space used for general recreation and sport.’ Photographs show that the whole was just grass with no internal trees, planted borders or beds.
A viewing in the rain in May 2016 revealed a delightful park with major planting development, redesigned pathways and a very recently renovated children’s play area, adjoining which is a dog-free fenced- off space with a table and benches as well as goalposts, where picnics and football can be enjoyed by all. There are four entrance points to the park with barriers/gates, none of which seem to be used, and a small car park at the north entrance. There are garden fences, and the single line of old oaks on the eastern boundary. However, recent planting obscures much of the fencing, making the park seem larger than it really is. There are winding footpaths through the park, all tarmac and in good condition, some bordered by clumps of trees. A wooden carving of an acorn and pine cone on an old tree stump have been created. The play area is newly fenced and was completely renovated for the Queen’s birthday in April.
The whole park is well supplied with trees and shrubs. Some trees are relatively new as in the last 10 years there has been continual redesign and revival of the park. Pear, horse chestnut, eucalyptus have replaced dying trees, as well as old oaks and whitethorn. In the spring there are swathes of bulbs and roses in the summer. There is a bamboo thicket for children to play in. Planting is robust, to withstand children’s play. One particular area stood out with several sets of two trees planted in the grassed area for the children to use as goalposts. Local residents appear to keep an eye on the upkeep of the park and will report any shortcomings they notice. The community in general is very supportive of the park and the work that Fareham Borough Council has done and continues to do, and have had their own input into the design.
There are no opening hours as the park barriers are not in use, and as there is no lighting it is for general daylight use only.
In a time of cut backs by councils on park maintenance and renewal, Blackbrook Recreation Ground is an inspiration to what can be done in cooperation with the local community. It is a very attractive community asset, and it will be very important to continue to maintain and innovate in this park.
HGT Research: May 2016