Storm brews in Unhappy Mount Park

Happy Mount Park volunteers chairman Simon Lewis, chief designer Colin Hobbs and committee member Jonathan Lewis and the remains of a picnic table following the recent spate of vandalism in the park.
Happy Mount Park volunteers chairman Simon Lewis, chief designer Colin Hobbs and committee member Jonathan Lewis and the remains of a picnic table following the recent spate of vandalism in the park.
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A stand-off between Happy Mount Park volunteers and management could scupper future plans to improve the park.

Projects, including plans for a new ‘magnifier’ so kids can view wildlife in the pond, are on hold after an embarrassing incident where volunteers claim they were ‘banned’ from entering the park.

Park owners Lancaster City Council have denied this and want clear-the-air talks.

Simon Lewis, chair of the volunteers, said: “We went in and a warden said he had to ring the managers to tell them we were coming onto the park. We said no, we’re coming in, and they backed down.”

Tensions had already been running high between the volunteers and park management, said Mr Lewis.

“We’d decided we were not having any more meetings with council officers because there was no point. Our projects aren’t moving forward and we were being blocked on things. There are a lot of people who give their time. It’s a farce. So we’re standing our ground.”

Mark Davies, head of environmental services at Lancaster City Council, said: “The Happy Mount Park volunteers do lots of hard work in the park and their efforts are much appreciated.

“It’s important going forward that we properly understand their future ambitions, so we can help them, and come to a mutual agreement on how we can work together more effectively in the best interests of the park and all its users.

“The group continues to work in the park, but we have asked for any projects to wait until we have had the opportunity to meet and discuss the details.”