PLANS for the future of a York park which could see a heritage and education centre created in its grounds have won the backing of a city MP.

Campaigners have outlined their vision for West Bank Park, in Holgate, after being asked by City of York Council to produce ideas following the authority’s budget decision not to lock the city’s parks at night.

Residents and community groups have held a public meeting to discuss proposals to transform the former park-keepers’ house, owned by the council, into the West Bank Park Heritage Centre and cafe. The Holgate Windmill Preservation Society, which led the project to bring the nearby mill back into working use, has added its support and said the facility could be used by its school parties and visitors as well as for displays about the landmark’s history.

York Central MP Hugh Bayley met the campaigners yesterday to hear about the plans. He said: “West Bank Park is a place of tranquillity in the centre of the city, appreciated and used by thousands of people of all ages and with something for everybody.

“I warmly welcome the plans to bring the park-keepers’ lodge back into use for the community and visitors, and will support those involved in any bids for funding.”

Campaign co-ordinator Jane Cullen said the scheme would provide income for the park’s future upkeep and allow links with local primary schools, gardeners and horticulturalists, as well as offering parents of young children “a safe, traffic-free environment”. She said: “We really want this to work for the community, and if people have ideas, we want to hear them.”

A video of the proposals is now on YouTube, and Dave Meigh, the council’s operations manager for public realm, said the centre was “a wonderful opportunity to animate the park” and create a community focal point.

Coun Sonja Crisp, cabinet member for leisure, praised the work as a good example of cooperative community work.