Tree surveys carried out as part of £1.8 Ellington Park renovation scheme

Ellington Park Photo Michael Milham

Tree surveys have been carried out at Ramsgate’s Ellington Park as part of a £1.8 million renovation project.

The scheme, largely funded by a £1.64million lottery award, will involve the creation of a new café, toilets and landscaping.

Thanet council and the Friends of Ellington Park have worked together to gain the funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Big Lottery Fund and to prepare the detailed designs for tender submission.

Works are scheduled to start in the park in the latter part of this year.

Ellington Park Photo via TDC

Thanet council and the Friends of Ellington Park say they have taken great pains to preserve and protect the landscape, trees and ecology.

Three different tree surveys have been undertaken to identify the 392 trees in the park, including species, age and health of each tree.

A Thanet council statement says: “We have taken the advice of tree surgeons, arboriculturalists and landscape architects. The results showed that 20 trees are diseased and within the final five years of their lifespan. Many of these trees are at risk of storm damage, where falling boughs create a potential risk to life. These potentially dangerous trees have been marked for removal and younger trees will be planted across the park to replace them.

Photo via TDC

“The four Norway Maples around the bandstand are some of the oldest trees in the park but unfortunately are the most heavily diseased and at risk of falling. One lost a large bough in storm Gareth, in March 2019. On further inspection the tree trunk was ‘spongy’, structurally unsound and at risk of falling even in moderate winds. To prevent a risk to the public this tree was removed in May 2019.  The remaining three trees are scheduled for removal in the coming months to avoid the bat roosting season.

“Ecology reports have been prepared by experts including a bat survey on all trees, specifically the 20 trees diseased and marked for removal. Further emergent surveys will be undertaken on five trees to ensure bats are protected and roosts are undisturbed.”

How the new building could look

Ellington Park is 126 years old. The late Victorian and Edwardian landscaped area is across 13 acres of land. It was laid out in 1893 on what was once part of the estate surrounding Ellington House.

The park was designed by the Victorian landscape company Joseph Cheal and Son, known for their work at Hever Castle and Kirkstall Abbey.

The scheme will create the new community café and toilets, a restored bandstand, with landscape works to conserve the terrace and bring back Cheal’s landscape scheme.

The new cafe business plan sets out how the café building will be run and managed as an environmentally friendly, healthy eating, not–for–profit community enterprise by the Friends of Ellington Park.  All profits will be re-invested in the park, employing a community gardener and continuing community activities and events after the funding period is finished.

The proposed building will also be used as an education space in the day time and community events space in the evenings. It will be on the terrace overlooking the park, in the same location as the original rustic bandstand.

The 100sq metre café building will have 36 seats inside and 24 seats on the external terrace and 3 unisex toilets, with accessible WC and baby change.

There will also be new benches, the promenade will be widened and an outdoor seating area created. There will also be a new public square for market stalls and a petanque area, for the use of more than 90,000 visitors per year.