Liz Harsant was elected Councillor in 2002 to represent Holywells Ward and in 2004 became Leader of Ipswich Borough Council, in a joint administration (Conservatives /Lib Dems) for 6½ years. Amongst other things, community spirit is one of the reasons that Liz writes for Waterfront Life.
A hidden gem often not as well known or as popular as Christchurch Park, but believe me it is the most beautiful Park you could wish to visit. I have been using the Park for many years; when my children were young; when I was a dog walker; and then with my grandchildren - but now I just enjoy the peace and tranquillity Holywells Park offers.
Holywells was home to the Cobbold family for over 150 years and before that was part of the Manor of Wykes Bishop, held by the Bishops of Norwich from the 13th Century. We now have that small street on the Waterfront called Wykes Bishop Street. The Cobbolds sold the estate in 1930 to Lord Woodbridge, who subsequently bequeathed the land to the Town Council who opened it as a park in 1936.
In 2001, I was part of a small group of local residents who formed the Friends of Holywells Park and since then so many changes have happened. In 2012 we received Parks for People funding which allowed the park to be regenerated. Among the improvements made possible by the grant was the renovation of the Stable Block which is now a visitor centre; with an education area & function room and a lovely café which is such a joy for us all. The Conservatory that lived in a tin casing for many years is now a multi-function area which can be used for all kinds of events. The play area is such a fun area for children and greatly improved from the days when my children were young. And there is a new toilet facility and ice cream kiosk – essential as all parents will agree.
I’m very proud of Holywells Park both in my role as a Councillor and as the Secretary of the Friends Group. I have made long lasting friendships through my involvement with the Park and because my late husband Russell loved the park as well, I planted a lovely oak tree in his memory which gives me great pleasure when I walk through the park.