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Tree sculpture unveiled in park PS28,000 revamp.

Byline: Barbara Hodgson Reporter barbara.hodgson@ncjmedia.co.uk

ATREE sculpture will be unveiled in Heaton Park this week as a PS28,000 revamp nears completion The popular Newcastle park has undergone a major programme of improvement work this summer with the new public artwork as a centrepiece.

The sculpture, made from a fivemetre tree trunk, has been created by Keith Barrett from North Shields.

The artist has just about completed his carving of the fan-shape artwork from the wood of a felled beech near the park's former paddling pool, marking a milestone in the park's makeover.

He is making a smaller sculpture from a sycamore tree near the Heaton Park View entrance and said being involved had been "a wonderful experience".

"My artworks are intended to enable people to gain a closer engagement with their environment," he said.

"The design is a response to the fall of the tree, its impact on the ground and the change to the character of the space.

"I very much hope residents and visitors to the park enjoy exploring the work and engaging with it."

The revamp of the park has also included the reseeding of the park's old bowling green area and the refurbishment of three tennis courts, with white lines repainted and new nets soon to be in place.

An "interpretation" board has also been commissioned which will tell the history of the site, from its original use as the kitchen garden of Heaton Hall then as a croquet lawn.

The area is now to become an open green space for all park users, who are also being consulted about plans for a dog exercise spot.

The improvements are thanks to funding of almost PS28,000 from housing and care provider Places for People and Newcastle City Council.

Margaret Morrison, of Friends of Heaton Park, said the facilities are now much improved in the park which has had to cope with cuts in recent years due to the effect of austerity measures on non-essential services.

She said: "It is fantastic to have this funding.

"Places for People has been marvellous in funding some innovative and very necessary improvements."

Jonquil Hood, regional manager at Places for People, which owns 6,500 homes in the region, said: "Place-making is at the heart of everything we do.

"Making a community thrive is central to our philosophy. Parks and other public spaces bring communities together and are enjoyed by young and old alike.

"We are really pleased to have worked with Friends of Heaton Park and the city council to develop this fantastic community space and improve the recreational facilities, which I hope will encourage even more local people to use the park."

And Coun Stephen Powers, cabinet secretary at Newcastle City Council which part-funded the work, added: "Projects like this show how we're working together as a community to maintain and improve our parks in the midst of austerity.

"The improvements are a great addition to what is already a fantastic and much-loved park."

CAPTION(S):

Artist Keith Barrett with his <Bsculpture in Heaton Park, Newcastle

The improvement work at Heaton Park has included one new tree sculpture - with another one on the way

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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Sep 1, 2015
Words:530
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