A NEW partnership is being developed as the next phase of regeneration at a Middlesbrough park begins to blossom.

Under the plans, York-based Askham Bryan College will develop a new training centre in the Victorian estate buildings at Stewart Park.

Local residents are now being asked for their views in a consultation exercise which runs until Monday, August 11.

The partnership with Middlesbrough Council would see Askham Bryan develop a base and training areas in the park’s Grade 2-listed Central Lodge and adjacent depot.

Tracy Harvey, Middlesbrough Council’s executive member for

environment, said: “Stewart Park is one of the jewels in Middlesbrough’s crown, and has already been transformed by the HLF-funded restoration project.

“Visitor numbers to the park have now risen to more than one million a year, and this partnership with the UK’s biggest land-based training specialist will build on that success and further help to secure the Park’s future.

“The proposed College base will enable significant investment in the historic Central Lodge, giving it a sustainable long-term use and allowing public access to an important part of the town’s heritage during open days and events.”

The proposals will see areas currently used as offices and storage space remodelled for the delivery of training courses including horticulture, arboriculture, floristry and animal husbandry for up to 400 students aged between 16 and 19.

In addition, the College will provide demonstration competition gardens within the courtyard and possibly a small riding school.

Public access to the park would not be affected, and the development is considered to be in line with award-winning ‘Parks for People’ project which has seen the renovation of much of the historic park.

The park restoration involved major improvements to the Victorian estate buildings, landscape and the creation of a new visitor centre.

The multi-million pound Parks for People grant has paid for the employment of four park staff to run the facilities and provide events and activities for visitors.

Members of the public can view the proposals and submit feedback at the following venues until Monday, August 11 at the park’s Bolckow Visitor Centre opening hours: Monday – Thursday 10am - 4.30pm; Friday 10am - 4pm; Saturday – Sunday 11am - 4.30pm.

And in the Central Library Monday to Thursday 9.30am - 7pm; Friday 9.30am - 5pm; Saturday 9.30am - 5pm; Sunday closed.