Manchester

Manchester's Alexandra Park reopens after £5.5m revamp

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Media captionThe revamp of Alexandra Park has taken two years to complete

A park in Manchester has reopened after a £5.5m project to return it to its original Victorian glory.

The revamp of Alexandra Park in Moss Side has taken two years to complete.

Original features of the park's buildings including the pavilion have been restored, with new features including four tennis courts, a children's play centre and a cafe.

Paul Benson-Hannam, chair of the Friends of Alexandra Park, said it looked "spectacular".

Image caption The park's original buildings were restored including the pavilion

Councillor Rosa Battle, an executive member for Culture and Leisure at Manchester City Council, said the transformation of the 60-acre site, which had been 10 years in the planning, had "turned it into an absolutely beautiful park".

'Alehouse deterrent'

Despite budget cuts - the council announced plans to axe 830 jobs as part of a £80m funding gap last year - Ms Battle said the revamp of Alexandra Park, which received £2.2m from the Heritage Lottery Fund, was one of "our priorities".

She said it "was something the people of Manchester really wanted".

Image caption Trees had to be felled to create the new tennis courts

In the original plans, 280 trees were to be felled but that number was scaled back by the council to 250 after protesters set up camp in the park.

Mr Benson-Hannam said he had been concerned about the loss of trees.

He said: "However, had those trees not gone none of this would have happened; we wouldn't have got funding so it was part and parcel of the whole thing."

Image caption The park was designed in 1869

The park was designed in 1869 by Alexander Hennell and opened the following year.

Its initial purpose was to "deter the working men of Manchester from the alehouses during their day off".

Image caption Events at the park this weekend include sports taster sessions

There are a number of events this weekend to mark the reopening of the park, including sports taster sessions, a dog show and tug of war.

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