Bestwood Country Park is situated in North Nottinghamshire 4 miles north of the Nottingham City Centre, on the rural-urban fringe - Geography Essay Example

Bestwood Country Park is situated in North Nottinghamshire 4 miles north of the Nottingham City Centre, on the rural-urban fringe - Bestwood Country Park is situated in North Nottinghamshire 4 miles north of the Nottingham City Centre, on the rural-urban fringe introduction. The Park contains approximately 650 acres of varied countryside land and is boarded in part by housing estates, which in itself is a rarity as it is very unusual to find a site of such ecological quality on the edge of a large city. It is very accessible form Nottingham city and its communities as well as neighbouring counties. Below I have displayed two maps, one of the area and the other of the region.

MAP X2

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The map above shows Bestwood Park in relation to the East Midlands and the M1. As you can see from the above, Bestwood Park not only serves the local population, but is accessible from elsewhere via the M1 motorway, and can therefore attract from a greater population.

Bestwood Park was formerly part of Sherwood Forest, a wide expanse of habitats including heath woodland and pastures. Before Bestwood Park was created the land was a royal hunting estate, used by many English kings and dukes. The landscape of this area was dramatically changed, when in the 19th century Duke of St Albans granted a lease on his land to the Bestwood Iron and Coal Colliery Company. This was the start of the mining industry. The village of Bestwood was created to house the workers. In 1939 the estate was sold to the army, who created the housing estates that surround the park today. Eventually in 1985 Nottingham County Council and Gedling Borough Council purchased the land and created Bestwood Country Park, as we know it today. The colliery closed in 1967, but there is still lots of evidence of this industry such as; the impressive Winding Engine house which still stands.

Bestwood Park, as we see it today, is free of charge and open from dawn to dusk every day of the year. It is a very popular recreational and educational facility as well as being an area with extreme ecological and landscape quality. It is used by locals, some of whom use it for exercising animals, horse riding, walking and many other leisure activities. The park provides many facilities such as the conservation area, lakes, field study centre and picnic area. Bestwood is a venue of events all year round including kite flying and themed camping weekends.

Bestwood Country Park has many aims and purposes. The basic purpose is to ‘promote access by the community to experience and enjoy the countryside’. The park also tries to promote the park as a recreational and educational resource as well as trying to ‘maintain and enhance the ecological and landscape value of the Country Park for this and future generations’. The park employs a team of rangers who contribute heavily to the management, conservation and public safety of the park as well as events and education. Below is a pie chart showing the time allocation of the park rangers. (Information supplied by park rangers)

PIE GRAPH

This pie chart shows that The Country Park Ranger Service involves the rangers taking an active role in fulfilling the aims. It is interesting to note that over 50% of the park rangers time is spent on activities relating to the public use of the park, (i.e. information, education, events and social inclusion). The rangers form a link between the place and people, balancing the needs of visitors and local people against those of the landscape and environment. This role is very diverse, so the rangers need to be good communicators who act as catalysts to make things happen.

There is not enough funding from the council at the moment to complete many projects which the park management would like to undertake. There are many volunteers who raise money even for simple tasks such as, placing more cased information boards and signage. In addition there are volunteers who support the work of the rangers in the conservation and management of the park. At the present a member of the public, together with support from the rangers, are trying to raise enough money to re-instate an adventure playground. The previous one became out of date and was unsafe and was therefore taken down. One of the other contributory factors for the unsafe nature of the playground was vandalism. Vandalism is a constant problem for the rangers, and care has to taken when introducing anything new to the park. Vandalism is evident from the signage and graffiti and is accounted for by the proximity of the park to neighbouring housing estates.

The park attracts approximately 400,000 visitors per year (although likely to be higher due to unofficial entrances.) The figure is a lot less than many other similar parks in the East Midlands and I have displayed these figures in a bar graph below.

This bar graph shows that in comparison to the other parks in the area Bestwood has a relatively low number of visitors. Bestwood is also has a considerably lower number of visitors compared with the other parks in Nottinghamshire which themselves have the largest visitor numbers in the East Midlands. This is probably due to the fact that money is not invested in marketing and publicity of the park. The park is totally un-commercial, which is unique, however this adds to the attractiveness of the park for many who visit, and it enables the park to remain a natural environment. Country Parks are also comparable in terms of the quality of countryside, and it is unlikely that any other parks listed would be able to claim a similar extensive range and diversity of countryside and habitat.

I have also looked and compared the figure from Bestwood Park with some local theme parks in the area. Alton towers receives over 1 million visitors per year, which is very high, other parks in the area such as Drayton Manor Park and American Adventure receive over 800,000. These numbers are high, especially when you consider that on average they are only open from early spring to late autumn, which is only 3/4 of how long country parks are open for. These figures tell me that theme parks have a much greater number of visitors per year, and that therefore they are more economically successful. Although, it is hard to compare a country park and a theme park as they have a totally different genre to work to, together with different aims and objectives, comparing Bestwood to a theme park can give us a good idea about the difference in the types of park and what economic benefits theme parks have over country parks.

Tourism is part of Nottinghamshire’s economy and is one of the fastest growing industries. There is increasing awareness of the economic benefits of tourism and leisure particularly in Nottinghamshire where the mining industry has declined. Parks such as Bestwood contribute to this, but as the figures above show it does not contribute as greatly as other country parks do and the figures are very small compared with local theme parks. Below is a map including pictograms showing full time job equivalents and tourist spending in the East Midlands.

This map shows that there appears to be a high relationship between the level of tourist spending and the number of people employed in the tourist industry. Therefore we can assume that by providing the opportunity for tourist spending it would correspondingly increase the level of employment.

Bestwood Park is remarkable in that it contains many essential ecosystems, and within that a wide range of habitats of significant ecological and landscape value on a very accessible site. These habitats include woodland and heath, grassland, formal gardens, ponds, lakes, rivers and wet pastures as well as reclaimed post-industrial land. This quality and variety of habitats produces an extraordinary rich and diverse range of wildlife, vegetation and animals. Bestwood Park contains 8 of the nationally key habitats listed in the UK and holds 7 ‘Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation’. Included within its 650 acres of grounds are just about all the different types of countryside to be found in the county. Bestwood Park is different to other Country Parks in many ways. It is not as distinct as urban parkland and it is kept as close to ‘natural’ countryside as possible. I have shown a plan/map of the park on appendix 1.

This plan of the park shows the deceptive, unusual size of Bestwood Park, and the many conservation areas within it. With the many habitats that Bestwood Park contains, there are consequently large food webs and conservation is very important. There are 4 main habitats included in the park; the wetlands, the woodlands, the grasslands and heathland. These each contribute to the many ecosystems which are present.

The wetlands are a very important habitat found in Bestwood Park. The River Lean runs through the park, and there are many species of conservation interest to be found in and around its water. Wildlife such as the native white-clawed crayfish, brook lamprey, mayfly, and stonefly larvae are present along the banks and in the water. These species, especially the native white-clawed crayfish and brook lamprey are important to the parks ecosystems as they are rare. It is also one of the few stretches of water nationally where water voles are still abundant. Within Bestwood Park’s boundaries lies the largest reed bed on the River Lean containing many species of interest and rarity. Although reed beds alone are not often considered to have significant habitat variation species, they contain a number of features used by different plants and animals. Reed beds are especially important for birds, and Bestwood is important as a swallow roost in the winter months. It also plays a host to water vole, water shrews and harvest mice. Included in Bestwood Park are The Mill Lakes. These are a stretch of the River Lean that was artificially dammed in the 1970’s to create a large amount of standing water. It is surrounded by areas of tree plantations which are now becoming mature and are important sites for winter birds.

The area containing Bestwood Park (Sherwood) is characterised by its acid soil and its associated woodland. Oak-birch woodland makes up 350 acres of the park. This area (called Bigwood) contains some fine examples of mature trees such as, Oak, Sycamore and Sweet Chestnut. The Warren Hill Plantation is an area of ancient woodland with an associated ground of flora and under storey species such as Hazel and Elm. Much of the woodland was formerly part of Sherwood Forest however past management which involved clear felling of substantial areas, has produced naturally regenerated secondary woodland. Included within the ‘woodland’ are a number of heathland sites, which is an extremely rare habitat in the county. Much of the heathland is dominated by bracken and heather. Below are two photos which I took during my field trip, one showing heathland and one showing woodland.

Another habitat present in Bestwood Park is Grassland. The grassland present is called ‘unimproved grassland’ which has no chemicals or treatments used on it. This means that it is ‘natural’ and it is how you would find it in the wild another name for this type of grassland is called ‘acid grassland’. There are also many flower meadows present within the park which contain a diverse range of flower and grass species. I have displayed another photo below showing the grassland at the perimeter of the park.

photos

The range of the many habitats is reflected heavily in the diversity of the species found in the park. Many of these species are colonising species and those which can cope with the disturbance and habitat changes which a rural-urban fringe park brings. Most of the species are adapted to sandy woodland, acidic grassland and heath. There are also many invertebrates such as; beetles and arachnids, the park is also a haven for butterflies and moths due to the variety and different types of vegetation. Mammals often found include; the red fox, stoat and weasel, this reflects the ‘prey’ species present in the park. One of the parks specialities is the range of Birds that it attracts. Bestwood Park is one of the best sites in the East Midlands for bird life, breeding over 80 species.

Due to the large habitats present in the park and consequently the variety of species there is a complex food chain, which contains within it many food webs. Food webs can become very interwoven and as a result there are many species involved in one web. The food webs work in a vicious circle and this means that every specie is very dependent on one another. If one is taken out, the cycle is disrupted, and it can lead to species not being able to survive. Below I have included one food web taken from the ‘woodland’ habitat.

FOOD WEB

A large amount of the park lies on acidic, free draining soil sandy soil mostly ‘Sherwood Sandstone’. Clay is also present here in the Park. Towards the eastern side of the park is a small area where an outcrop of red marl has produced alkaline clay loam, this area is dominated by Alder. Due to the mining industry, there is a colliery spoil heap. Here, shales and clay are present, on top of which there are plantations of trees with grass lichens and mosses. The poor drainage of the spoil heap has also meant that areas of wetland habitat have been produced around the bottom.

Conservation is very important to Bestwood Park and presently there are over 30 varied projects underway on site. These range from small relatively insignificant projects to more important ones which reflect and indicate the growing status of conservation in the county. Although many of the conservation projects are not as extensive as other parks, Bestwood tries to involve the community that the park sees as being very important.

The park tries to manage and maintain a delicate balance between the conservation and the enhancement of the park, as well as continuing the use of the site as a highly popular recreational and educational recourse for the community. The ecosystems present are very valuable to the park, environment and the communities that are involved in it. If the ecosystems didn’t exist the park would loose it significance in the fact that it is home to a very diverse range of species.

Proposal

The press release from the East Midlands Leisure PLC proposes that a new theme park will be built on the site of Bestwood Country Park. It states that some of the present park will be left untouched and the rest of the theme park will take advantage of the physical environments, it is said that it may even improve the overall appearance of the site. Also included within the proposal was that, if the park was to go ahead it would hopefully meet the growing demand for leisure services in the East Midlands and would become as successful as other theme parks in the area.

There are many aims of the proposed park some to do with the economy, history and conservation. I have listed them as follows:

* To create the most exiting and popular leisure and theme park attraction in the East Midlands.

* To provide employment for the people of Bestwood.

* To promote an educate people about the local area’s history.

* To protect and enhance the natural beauty and bio-diversity of the area.

The plans that have been released do not just include the building of rides and other attractions. Among the many plan included in the proposal include the planting of 5,000 new trees, fences and gates to fit in with the landscape, a new lake, refreshment and first aid sites, new car parks and road access and the creation of 90 new jobs as well as 12 themed rides/attractions.The themed rides/attractions, which have been proposed, are all designed to help meet the aims of the park. I have displayed on a map (appendix 2) of the layout of the proposed theme parks rides and attraction. This map shows that within the proposal are a variety of attractions to try and suit most people. Its shows that they have planned to include museums and attractions to fit in with the history and heritage of the park such as ‘The Mining Heritage Museum’ and ‘Robin Hood Adventures’. It also shows the layout of the park and how much of the present park will be used in the theme park The map shows how the park has planned to conserve part of the site. The plans show that less than 1/2 of the present park will be used for the theme park and that where they do build on, many areas will have new plantations added.

Main Body

Within this report I have included lots of information regarding the background of the Country Park as well as presenting the proposal of a new theme park that has been planned to be built on the site. I now have to consider the impacts of such an extensive project, and the effects and consequences which it may have. These are both positive and negative and cover many aspects. I also have to consider whether the changes caused by the proposal do meet the aims of the proposed theme park.

If the proposal were to go ahead the local economy would probably be boosted greatly. This is a very positive aspect of the planned park. As I have showed, theme parks in general attract a much larger number of visitors than country parks. There are other successful theme parks in the East Midlands and surrounding counties, which suggests that there is probably adequate demand for another. However, because there are already many successful theme parks that are very established in the area, it might not be commercially viable to build another park of a similar genre. A market study could help provide a better answer to this.

If the park were to be feasible there would be a vast opportunity of employment. The Bestwood area, at present has a very high unemployment rate, due to the collapse of the mining industry. Included within the parks plans was the allocation of 90 new jobs, which could and probably would employ local people and reduce the unemployment rate in the area. The theme park would almost certainly attract a much larger number of visitors (probably a similar number to other theme parks in the area) and would also boost the tourism in locally and in Nottinghamshire.

This increase in numbers would have many multiplying effects, which would certainly have positive effects on the economy, as well as negative. This probable boost in the economy does not just affect the parks income and its profit. It also affects the community, the local area and to some extent the county. This is mainly due to the multiplier effect. The multiplier effect in this case measures ‘the change in total demand in the local economy as a result of the initial demand’. The size of the multiplier depends on how much spending at the theme park is re-spent by employees in the local economy compared to how much is saved. Therefore it will not just be the park which faces the benefits. In the case of Bestwood Park, many people and aspects would be affected. Due to the multiplier effect, the increase in visitors will probably have many positive effects. More people visiting the area wont just mean more money for the park. With the general amount of extra visitors in the area, it would mean that many local businesses would thrive, such as hotels and shops that visitors would use.

An increase in visitors would almost certainly mean an increased amount of traffic. With this great rise, the theme park would need to consider how the traffic was to be handled. The park at present has two relatively small car parks, which would not be adequate for the increase. On the proposed plan the theme park has shown that they would construct one much larger car park which could cope with capacity. The local community however, may appose this proposal.

Another impact concerning the traffic is the road systems. Although Bestwood Park is close to the M1 it is not easily accessed due to it being accessed through minor residential roads through two housing estates. The proposal does not state anything about a new road system for easier access to the park, but this would need to be addressed if the park was to go ahead. With the amount of visitors that it would attract it would be inappropriate for the traffic to flow through a large residential area, especially at opening and closing times, when they traffic would be immense. If a new road system were to be built it would involve major construction work on top of the theme park itself. This would have very negative long term and short-term problem for the local community.

In the short-term construction work of the road system was cause traffic congestion and a lot of noise and air pollution create by the machinery which would be used, this would effect residents living close by as well as slight damage to the environment created by the air pollution. However the long-term effects which would possibly occur would possibly have much stronger effects, with more consequences. If the road system was to be built, it would more than likely have to be built through a housing estate, seen as much of the park is surrounded by them. This could have major implications, as houses may have to be demolished to make for the construction of it. This would mean that residents would have to be re-housed which is a massive consequence. Another negative long term effect created would be more noise and air pollution created by the traffic. The air pollution would give off carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide into the atmosphere, a very bad environmental effect.

If this road system were to be developed it would affect much of the community, possibly creating a poorer quality of life for them. However it would have considerable benefits as well. The council would have to decide whether it was worth forsaking people’s quality of life to develop a new system which would contribute to the parks accessibility and visitor numbers therefore boosting the economy.

The quality of life of local residents is a very important factor which the council must consider when deciding whether the proposal should go ahead. There are many aspects of local residents quality of life which would be altered if the proposal was successful, some positive, but most negative. Some residents may see the park as a ‘new way of life’ as residents previously unemployed could earn a living, as well as boosting their local economy and possibly creating Bestwood into a financially successful area. However there would be many negative points which most residents would probably resent if the theme park was built.

The theme park could have the capability of destroying part of a community. At the moment there are strong community links between the locals and the country park. If the theme park were to be built many locals would probably not visit the park as they do today and consequently the community spirit would fade. An increase in vandalism and crime in the area would probably occur which would cause distress and upset with many locals. It would also lower the status of the area and make it look unattractive, and the local authority and others would have to spend money and time into correcting this problem.

There is a very strong social, cultural and historical background to Bestwood Country Park, which would be completely shattered if a theme park was to be built. For over 50 years the park has been used locals for free, many of whom who also volunteer and spend time maintaining the parks natural habitat. Its use for leisure and recreational purposes would also be minimised by the development, as there may be restrictions added and open nature of the park would disappear as people would probably not be able to use the site as ‘natural’ and ‘wild’ countryside.

Although part of the park is said to be left untouched the commercial operation which it would turn into would probably mean that it would no longer be free of charge this would therefore be taking an amenity away from people. Much of the parks historical background would probably be forgotten is the proposal was to succeed. Below I have shown a picture of Bestwood Lodge which has a great historical significance.

In building a theme park, the developers will be looking for every opportunity to make money. Therefore, it would be likely that they would use this historical building as en exploit for making money and it would probably loose its significance and historical interest. The industrial heritage due to mining would probably also be lost, which would affect many locals who identify their past with mining on the site of the park. It would be likely that over time the importance of the industrial heritage would be exploited commercially as part of a theme park. It is essential that our heritage is maintained and preserved, which can only be ensured by remaining under the control of the local authority.

A problem which may arise if the theme park was to be built would be that of the past industry of the park. This past means that there could be many possible problems which could arise, due to unsuitable land. Areas such as the old spoil heap could cause problems, as there is poor drainage. Building work could disrupt this to an extent which may cause a big problem.

The visual side to the proposal is also factor that would be changed if the proposal was successful. These rides will most undoubtedly be built out of brightly coloured materials. Some of the proposed rides may have a summit which rises above the dominant woodland which stands today. This would possibly mean that they would become intrusive and regarded as ‘an eye sore’, the park would loose its reputation as being a ‘visual amenity’ which it is at present.

The local residents would no longer have a visible natural environment next to them, but an eyesore invading the skyline. I have drawn a field sketch of the park as it is today and a drawing of how the park might look if the proposal was to succeed, shown on appendix 3. By comparing these two sketches you can see that the parks appearance would be changed completely. The natural environment and scenery would be changed in to a scene full of large constructions, many of which would partially block out the landscape from the top of the park.

Noise pollution is another potential problem created by the rides. A huge amount of mechanical works are needed in operating rides, consequently causing lots of noise. This noise together with the bustling sound of many visitors would be very antisocial and unpleasant for locals around the park.

These rides, although probably not very attractive and in keeping with the parks natural environment, they have been carefully planned to meet the aims of the park. The park has been planned as the map shows (appendix 2) that the proposed park has been carefully planned as to try and maximise the number of visitors and the amount of time they spend there during their visit. It also seems to be designed so that the visitors will spend an optimum amount of money during their visit. This can be achieved by placing ride and attractions in certain places.

The planners position the attractions carefully as a marketing ploy to try and encourage visitors to spend. They do this by placing main attractions at the back of the park (i.e. the tower of doom) so that visitors have to travel past and get tempted by other attractions before they reach the ride they were aiming for. They also place the anchor ride (i.e. the log flume) next to the entrance as to draw people into the park. They have also placed the food court in the centre of the park alongside the main track, as to encourage passers by to buy food and spend more money when walking past.

The map also shows how the park has planned to conserve part of the site. The plans show that less than 1/2 of the present park will be used for the theme park and that where they do build on, many areas will have new plantations added. At the present the country park does not receive much funding at all. It would be more likely if the theme park was built that the remaining amount of Country Park would have more money invested into it.

The construction of the theme park is one of the largest effects which the proposal will have on the quality of life of the community surrounding the park. To build a theme park involves a large amount of engineering and consequently a large amount of heavy machinery which creates noise and air pollution. The construction machinery would probably be transported frequently along the residential roads to access the park, causing disruption to the quiet neighbourhoods surrounding Bestwood Park. The construction work, however does not just have an effect on the community surrounding Bestwood Park, it also has extremely strong effects on the environment.

A possible problem which the park may have to overcome would be whether the land in Bestwood is suitable, in regards to the relief and the geology. The geology in the park is dominated by ‘Sherwood Sandstone’ which means the soil is very sandy and thin. This means that there is a lot of footpath erosion. I decided to take measurements of the footpath erosion to see exactly how severe it is. Overleaf I have shown a map of where I took the measurements, and the results themselves.

I have used this information to produce graphs showing the results, and have displayed them on appendix 4, 5, and 6. These results and graphs show that the degree of footpath erosion varies depending on which part of the park you are in and which footpath you are on.

I found that the smaller paths seemed to be more eroded than the larger paths. This is probably because the larger paths have been built to withstand more people using them and also because they may be maintained better as they are used more frequently. The path with location 3 on was the largest path from which I took readings. From the graph of location 3 you can see that the land is not as heavily eroded in the middle as it is either side, these are tyre tracks, probably due to the occasional vehicle which may have passed along it. The smaller paths with locations 1, 2, 3 and 4 on were all much more heavily eroded than location 5. The graphs show a similar line in all locations which tells us that they all have a similar severity of erosion.

Due to this geology present in Bestwood Park, if a theme park was to be built the planners would have to consider and change the style and layout of footpaths. With the increased amount of visitors which would enter the park, ‘natural’ paths would not be suitable due to the heavy erosion which would occur. This delicate ecology would mean that the paths would become under intense pressure, due to the trampling effect of the sheer number of visitors. This would probably mean paving or concreting the paths to make them durable. The park would also have to plan the footpaths suitably otherwise desire lines would occur. Desire lines appear when paths are poorly planned because visitors find short cuts and create minor paths of their own. This would cause massive problems in Bestwood as the lines may run through remaining ‘wild’ areas which could lead to the destroying of a habitat

Before a theme park can be built on, the land has to be made suitable. In Bestwood’s case this would involve a lot of changes within the appearance and relief of the land. Most of the proposed park is going to be situated on the undulating ground of Bestwood Park, much of which is heavily wooded. For a theme park of its proposed size the land and habitats would need changing dramatically in certain areas. Tasks such as levelling and felling would have to occur as well as excavation due to the ornamental lake which is present within the plans.

By levelling the land, it would enable rides to be built easily and safely, and would make travelling round the park easier. Better access through the park would mean that more people would visit the park including wheelchair users and visitors with pushchairs. Felling would mean that new buildings and rides could be erected including amenities such as stalls and the food court. Excavation of the lake would mean that a new attraction could be built and the park could look more attractive.

All of these hopefully contributing to creating a more successful theme park. However these measures would have very bad effects on the many habitats and ecosystems which are present in the park. Even though the species present within Bestwood Park can cope with disturbance, due to the close proximity of the built up urban area, the building of a theme park would go beyond most species capacity in the case of most species, damaging severely or even destroying most of the ecosystems and habitats living on it.

The construction work would cause many short-term effects to many aspects of the environment. These however, can and may result in extensive long-term damage some of which may be irreversible. The diverse range of plant and animal species which are held within the habitats and ecosystems survive due to the extensive natural environment. If the theme park was to be built many of these would be seriously damaged and in some cases destroyed.

Levelling, felling and excavation would cause drastic effects on the appearance and ecological values of the park. These tasks would damage heavily all the habitats living on it. Although the excavation of a new lake may seem to give the opportunity for new wildlife to be attracted, in fact it would probably do the opposite. This is because the new lake would not be natural; therefore creating an artificial environment which many species would not be able to live. These species would also be heavily disrupted by many pleasure boats which would probably use the lake. By felling and levelling you would be destroying some of the last remnants of Sherwood Forest in the park. This would not only ruin habitats but be destroying some very important history.

Another problem caused if the theme park was built is to do with food webs. With the increased number of visitors, the likelier the chance of people feeding some of the wildlife. This would occur intentionally and unintentionally, by the giving and leaving of food. This may not seem like a serious problem in the short term, but it has massive consequences. If part of the food web is being fed from a source not within its food web, it will not rely on eating other wildlife below them in the food chain. This would lead to an increase in the number of unwanted species in the park and disruption within the web. However, it will not be only the increase in visitors which will effect the food webs.

The construction work of the theme park may also have another effect on the food webs in Bestwood Park. Many species may be frightened away by the disruptive work, and would leave their place in the web. Although this might not be a problem for that in-particular specie, the effects would be felt heavily by the remaining species in the park who may not have enough food, or may not have enough predators to keep numbers in the park manageable.

Construction work also involves heavy foundations made from concrete and metal being inserted into the ground, this could cause major problems if the proposal was to go ahead. Firstly there would be an environmental effect on the water tables. Water tables are the level of ground water below the surface and rise and fall depending on the weather. However, if these tables fall or rise too high or low they can seriously disrupt habitats. Relatively simple tasks such as concreting can disrupt the tables to an extent.

The building of the theme park would also cause a major problem to migrating birds. Birds that would migrate away from Bestwood Park during the construction period would probably return to finding their home destroyed or seriously damaged. This would mean that they would have to find a new habitat to live in, probably outside of Bestwood Park. This would have a very bad effect ion one of Bestwood’s biggest conservation projects and would affect the disruption of species.

This leads me on to state another very important aspect of Bestwood Park which would be highly affected if the proposal were to go ahead – conservation. Most of the above effects would cause damage to the environment, but in turn they would also have implications on issues to do with conservation.

Conservation is very important to Bestwood Country Park. The role of country parks in the conservation of countryside is increasingly important. They offer lifeline to may threatened habitats (in the case of Bestwood – heath and reed bed) which remain protected, yet still accessible. Another important conservation role played by the park is ‘changing peoples perception about the environment.’ This will happen if visitors see and value conservation work done in country parks. If a theme park was to be built many of the nationally listed habitats would be destroyed and to a certain extent people would not be able to learn about relevant issues.

I have put forward many consequences of the proposal, both negative and positive as well as possible problems which the proposed park may encounter. However, no matter how great the effects of the park were to be, there would be no point building it if in changing the park in such a dramatic way it did not meet its aims. For this reason I have looked closely at the aims and have tried to see if the changes which have been proposed would help reach them.

Some of the previously stated aims would appear to be met, but others not.

‘To create the most exiting and popular leisure and theme park attraction in the East Midlands’ is the first aim which the theme park has proposed. The changes such as; the construction of 12 new and varied attractions would be have to be achieved in order to help to meet this aim.

‘To provide employment for the people of Bestwood’ is another aim which the park has proposed. In this case the changes planned would also help to meet the aims of the park. Changes such as; the 90 employment opportunities would help fulfil this aim. This aim is probably the most realistic aim because a theme park has to employ people for it to be success, and it is more likely to use the local pool of people in Bestwood.

‘To promote and educate people about the local areas history’ is the third aim, which the changes would help meet. This would be achieved by the construction of the new mining heritage museum, which would in theory educate people about the parks history. However, the park would probably be visited by people because it is a ‘theme’ park and would not want to spend their time in the museum.

The last aim of the park is ‘To protect and enhance the beauty and bio-diversity of the area’. In this case the aim would probably not be met. Although the plans show new plantations and conservation areas, the park would almost certainly never reach enhance it, because the construction work would destroy most of the ecosystems.

Overall I believe that the park could fulfil 3 out of the possible 4 aims. In practice it would be very hard to ‘protect and enhance the beauty and bio-diversity of the area’ as well as creating ‘the most exiting and popular leisure and theme park attraction in the East Midlands’. It would be unlikely that the theme park could fulfil both of these aims because by reaching one, you would have to deprive the park of the other.

Points of view

If the proposal were to go ahead it would create many very opinionated views about whether the park should go ahead. I have stated many of the effects and consequences of the operation, but I have not really covered who and how people would be affected. There are many obvious effects on people who are directly affected, but other groups of people would possibly have strong views as well. Obviously most people’s opinions will be biased. This is due to the extent of the project and effects and consequences that it may have. Below I have include some reactions to the proposed plans which put across a few peoples opinions which show how people would be affected and their feelings.

The Nottingham Chamber of Commerce states:

‘The site is an excellent location due to its centrality and accessibility. It offers the opportunity for many thousands of people to visit the city. His strengthens Nottingham’s position as the leisure capital of the region and will provide further financial support to other businesses in the area.’

This backs up what I have said earlier in the report, however the statement will be biased. The Nottingham Chamber of Commerce are purely interested in the local economy and the effects on local businesses. Therefore there statement would be judgemental, as the Commerce would only approve of the park and take an interest, which it seems as if they do, if the park was going to be successful and prove of any use for them and for local businesses. The commerce would almost certainly not consider any of the negative effects for other aspects that may be negatively affected.

Another reaction towards the proposed plan was from Patricia Sung, a youth worker in Bestwood Estate. She stated:

‘Many local people will see this as a good thing. It helps to put Bestwood on the map and the creation of jobs will be welcomed, especially by the young unemployed.’

This opinion has a positive opinion as to whether the park should be built. Again the opinion is biased because the park would probably help to fulfil the aims of her job i.e to help youths to find jobs and in general to find productive use of youths leisure time, even though there is the possibility of increased crime rates and vandalism.

However Paula Finn, a Bestwood County Park ranger states:

‘This park is an environmental jewel. A shining example of many valued habitats rich in wildlife on the edge of a major city. We cannot accept any loss of this precious place.’

It is not surprising that this ranger is totally against a theme park being built, as she would probably loose her job if the proposal were to go ahead. Even so, to be a ranger in the first place you have to have a considerable interest in the environment, and to see it being destroyed along with your job would be tragic for them. Although this reaction will be biased, the rangers do know in detail what the country park offers and probably have a great deal more knowledge about it and the drastic effects than most other points of view.

Arthur O’Reilly, a local resident in Bestwood village states:

‘ My wife and I use the park for peaceful walks and summer picnics. I’m worried about all those people in their cars being a real nuisance and areas not being accessible’.

This reaction I believe would be typical of most of the local community surrounding Bestwood Park. I feel that this opinion is one of the most important ones, which the decision makers would have to consider when deciding whether the proposal should go ahead. This is because these people would be directly involved and these peoples quality of life would most likely to be changed by the operation.

Overall these reactions are important as they provide different perspectives concerning the proposal. Although all of the statements will probably be biased, they help to give a more rounded view about the positive and negative effects which would occur, together with attitudes and reactions to the proposals that would be of most benefit for both the present and the future.

Conclusion

In my opinion I believe that the decision regarding whether to build the proposed theme park, is one which involves great consideration of the aspects which I have included in the report. You have to consider whether the positive effects are more important than the negative effects that the proposed theme park will bring.

I feel that the ecosystems present are very valuable to the park, environment, and the communities which are involved in it and also surround it. If the ecosystems didn’t continue to exist the park would cease to remain home for a diverse range of species. I don’t feel that in Bestwood Country Parks case, it is worth forsaking a unique environment for the creation of a theme park. At present Bestwood park is ‘Nottingham’s best kept secret’ and tries to fulfil its aims. Although it is probably not the best use of land in terms of an increase in the economy it continues to attract more species some of rarity, and excels as an important part of Nottinghamshire’s environment. As we look to the future there will be more ‘green belt’ land taken out for other uses.

There is and will be growing pressure both within Nottinghamshire and surrounding counties to build more homes. This does put considerable pressure on land use and over time impacts on the rural fringes. As a result of this, areas such as Bestwood not only remain an important country park but they will maintain the many rare species, and as the current rangers have seen, they have attracted new and varied sometimes rare species. This trend is set to continue and thus the importance of Bestwood in terms of nature and conservation will undoubtedly increase.

As I have said earlier, in managing a park as diverse as Bestwood is, the main task is to maintain a delicate balance between the conservation and the enhancement of the park, as well as continuing the use of the site as a highly popular recreational and educational recourse for the community. I feel that Bestwood fulfils this objective and is successful. It is impossible to meet every visitors needs and the park is not suitable for everybody’s recreational and social needs, but through its careful controlled management it tries to provide for a wide spectrum of users. This would have massive impact on the surrounding areas not just through the economy.

Although the proposed theme park would mean a considerable boost in the economy, it is something that I feel is unnecessary. Boosting the economy would be particularly beneficial, I agree, but I believe that there could be many other alternatives that would boost the local economy and raise the profile of the area, without loosing the important significance, which Bestwood holds as a haven for nature. Maybe some of the money, which would have been used for the proposed park, could be used for funding for the country park. Surely we should be looking to build a theme park on land that can be reclained from other extinct industrial uses. We should be looking to use land that is not ecologically important at present and perhaps as part of the theme park we should look to improve the local environment not destroy it.

A theme park necessitates good access. There does need to be good access by road that does not affect local communities but also the planners should consider other transport links so that we reduce the use of the car. A theme park could be linked to a rail or tram system thus alleviating congestion on the roads.

The park appears to have put forward a reasonably realistic proposal with aims which it could and couldn’t meet. I feel that the plans are not specific enough for me to comment on the whether they would be carried out to their full extent. It would be very easy for the park to have included these aims in order to receive planning permission and when it comes to carrying them out they are not met. The developers of the proposed theme park are not conservationists. Although in theory it sounds plausible and well intentioned to retain an area of the original ‘Bentwood Park’ so that it remains very much as it does today, in practice this could not happen. The eco-balance would change irrevocably as soon as developers move in.

Species would move away, birds would not return and the complex balance of food webs would be upset and a downward spiral would occur. There would be no upturn when the developers left and building work ceased, there is no guarantee that the birds and other species would return. Therefore although it might appear a short-term disruption in terms of the construction of the park the long-term impact for nature would be immense. Indeed I have to say that from looking at the evidence from other theme parks the disruption caused from building new rides is a continual process, with additional features rides and thrills built during the winter season most years in order to maintain visitor numbers and attract new customers. This is an element that is not necessarily visible to most of the public but very important for the future.

Whoever was to make the final decision about whether the proposal was to go ahead, would have to consider many of the factors that I have put forward in this report. However, the main problem concerning these decision makers will probably be to weigh up whether a boost in the economy is more valuable than the environment and what’s held within it, and to decide whether the park would be feasible. I have stated my opinion, but although I have tried not be biased, it probably will be. Whichever option is chosen will be welcomed by some and disapproved by others, but overall the decision makers have to decide on the outcome which would be the most beneficial in the long term as well as the short term.

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