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Cheshire East Council Starts Work to Boost the Barony

Cheshire East Council has begun improvement works to revamp Barony Park leisure facilities.

Work has begun, following consultation with local residents, to install wooden rail fencing around the site in Nantwich, which is home to the Barony Sports Complex and includes extensive playing fields. Further improvements are also in the pipeline as part of a masterplan for the site.

The council has been working for many months with Friends of Barony Park, Everybody Sport and Recreation (Esar) and the council’s environmental services company Ansa, to bring about a significant upgrade to facilities at Barony Park, including much-improved leisure and sports amenities. 

Councillor Mick Warren, Cheshire East Council

Councillor Mick Warren, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for communities, said: “The council has been working on a green space masterplan, incorporating some suggestions put forward by Friends of Barony Park, for a range of enhancements to the park, to include large-scale tree planting, community planting areas, hedges, wildflower meadows an orchard and an outdoor ‘classroom’ for the study of biodiversity.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has, unfortunately, delayed the masterplanning and consultation but the fence was considered vital to progress wider improvements.

“The installation of some sections of fencing (varying in height from 60cm to 95cm) around the Barony is designed as part of a wider plan to enhance the site as a venue for recreation, enhance the landscape and biodiversity of the area and protect plantings from damage by careless footfall.

“The fence varies in height because some sections will need to protect hedge plantings, which will follow. The Sandford Road section is 95cm high. The rail elsewhere is 60cm.

“The plantings will need this additional protection from being trampled by careless footfall if they are to grow successfully. The fence is designed to have a minimal visual impact on the open nature of the playing field and we believe people will quickly get used to it.” 

The boundary treatments in the Barony’s masterplan may also serve to deter unauthorised vehicles, including unauthorised Traveller encampments, from directly accessing the playing fields. That is not, however, its primary function.

Cllr Warren added: “So called ‘target hardening’ measures can only be viewed as a deterrent and are not entirely effective at prevention. Unauthorised encampments happen across the borough and indeed, in recent months, have included two parks in Macclesfield, which have ‘secure’ perimeters.

“Fencing off one or several locations only moves the problem of unauthorised encampments ‘down the road’ to other locations and offers no real solution.

“We recognise that this is an important issue to residents and communities and we are seeking a long-term solution.

“The council is looking to bring forward a planning application for a Gypsy and Traveller transit site in the autumn – as this is undoubtedly the best solution and would strengthen the powers of the police to move on unauthorised encampments.”

Cllr Arthur Moran

Local Independent ward member Councillor Arthur Moran said: “This is a good news story for Nantwich. The work at Barony Park will improve the leisure and sporting facilities at this popular complex and residents’ suggestions for the boundary treatment to create a park run circuit have been incorporated – but there are also many additional features being introduced.

“The recently refurbished Barony Sports Complex is due to reopen for gym and group exercise classes on 1 August, and an outdoor gym is also planned. Together with the future improvements to Nantwich Swimming Pool, this represents a £2m investment in leisure and sporting facilities for the town.”

For more information about the Barony Sports Complex visit: https://livewellservices.cheshireeast.gov.uk/Services/647