Enfield Council has won over half-a-million pounds from The National Lottery Heritage Fund to transform Broomfield Park.
The Unlocking Broomfield Park for the Community project was awarded £532,490 in initial support which will allow the council to progress its plans to apply for a full National Lottery grant of £3,672,231 to reinvigorate the park and ‘memorialise’ Broomfield House.
Enfield Council has developed the project in collaboration with the Friends of Broomfield Park, Broomfield House Trust, the Enfield Society, Southgate District Civic Voice, and the advice of local councillors.
Enfield Council’s Cabinet Member for Open Spaces, Culture and Local Economy, Cllr Chinelo Anyanwu, said: “Enfield Council is committed to nurturing our arts, heritage and creative sectors to connect people through culture.
“For too many years, the shell of the House has stood with little purpose and no connection to the people who use the park.
“This project will finally address the issue of the House and reinvigorate the area while acknowledging its importance to the people of Enfield.”
The project will restore the surrounding landscape including around the two northern lakes of the park.
Broomfield House is currently in disrepair following a series of fires in 1984, 1993, 1994 and 2019, despite several failed attempts to secure funding to restore the historic building.
Colin Younger, chair of Broomfield House Trust said: “Unfortunately, the series of fires has meant that the structure has almost entirely disappeared because it was largely originally the wooden building dating back to the 1550s.
“So what the council have done working with the National Lottery Heritage Fund is look at a way of dealing with the ruins of the house and the area around it.
“And so what we’re talking about is removing the house, and memorialising it, but what exactly that means is yet to be decided.”
Colin expressed disappointment over the removal of the house, citing its rich history and cultural significance to the area, having been owned from 1599 to his death in 1610 by Sir John Spencer, who was Lord Mayor of London in 1594-95, and reputedly the richest man in England.
Colin added: “There’s a touch of sadness, it’s such a key position in the park.
“But you can see people going past and saying, ‘oh dear, it’s the time they did something.’
“So it can only be positive, but sad of course that we don’t get the house back.”
Though bittersweet, Colin and the park project collaborators see the project as a way of bringing the local community together, especially among young people.
Kim Lumley, retired doctor and volunteer with Friends of Broomfield Park, said: “We’re always looking at ways to try and get young people and people from different backgrounds involved.
“We’ve had projects working with young people in the park over the last five years, particularly when we’re doing our volunteer events, we try to look to bring families and young people and other groups into join us and this project could be another way to bring people in.”
Stuart McLeod, at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “We believe that investing in heritage means investing in the community it belongs to.
“It has the power to make our communities better places to live, bringing a sense of pride of place and this project in Enfield is no exception.
“It will not only see this Grade II listed park brought back to life but also engage with its community in new ways.
“We look forward to working with the team to progress their plans to apply for a full grant at a later date.”
Enfield residents will be encouraged to get involved in a range of activities including heritage and nature themed health and wellbeing schemes; a community archaeology dig and a mural hoardings project.
Featured image credit: Broomfield park, Enfield Council