A park in St Neots has proved so popular for users during the coronavirus crisis that Huntingdonshire District Council is having to create a temporary extension to its car parking area.
The council said that attendance at Priory Park had increased “vastly” during lockdown and that it was increasing the size of the car park to hold more than 20 extra vehicles.
Visitors to the park had been forced to leave their vehicles in streets around the area and the extra space will help to reduce the problem.
The council, which wants to enhance facilities on-site as part of its Healthy Open Space strategy, is pleased that the move has been welcomed by the park’s Friends group and said the scheme would help it judge how well a formal car park extension would be received by resident and users.
Councillor Marge Beuttell, executive councillor for operations and environment, said: “It is fantastic that our parks and open spaces have been extremely popular over the last several months, and we needed to do something that allowed it to continue for the ease of residents.
“We have seen a spike in outdoor gym sessions, now allowed to use the park’s space for free until April 2021, and therefore because demand is so high a temporary car park extension is the right call, and most importantly, backed and supported by the Priory Park Friends’ Group.”
Helen Lewis, secretary of Priory Park Friends’ Group, said: “Covid-19 has had a huge impact on our daily lives and mental wellbeing and having access to an open space has now become an important part of everyday life.
“As a group we are thrilled to see that Priory Park has suddenly taken on a new dimension and come alive.”
She said: “Once thought of as just an open space to walk your dog or host to the local football league, it’s now a bustling hub for daily exercise, a crucial meeting point for people from different households and with the lifting of certain restrictions an excellent location for larger group gatherings and outdoor exercise classes.
“However, with the increase of visitors parking has become an issue and HDC plans to expand the parking facilities is a fantastic addition.”