Hoole Parks and Open Green Spaces

An Important Legacy of Hoole Urban District Council 1894-1954

In 1894, when Hoole Urban District Council was formed, it had already secured the incorporation of part of the Township of Newton-by-Chester, between the Hoole Road and the Cheshire Lines Railway into the District.

There were later boundary adjustments. In 1936, Newton–by-Chester was dissolved and areas of Newton and Plas Newton, shown on the 1947 map, were incorporated into Hoole Urban District, along with 99 acres of Hoole Village. The ring road was emerging as a north east boundary. Also in 1936, Great Boughton gained 18 acres from the District, losing 5 acres back to Hoole Urban District on its south easterly boundary.

In 1947, the Official Handbook and Guide to the District, which covered the expanded Council area, was published.

The guide described how the Council worked to establish a good standard of Public Health for residents, and emphasised the parks and open green spaces available for public leisure and recreation. Plans for the further development of housing were also outlined.

Local services, places of worship, and the clubs and societies of the area were listed.

As Chairman of the Hoole Urban District Council, Mr John R. Hughes welcomed the publication of the Official Handbook and Guide, saying “I am certain that this publication will reinforce the already strong community of interest existing in the district and I commend it without hesitation to both resident and visitor.”

Recently more documents about Local Government in Cheshire have become available, including those drawn up by Hoole Urban District Council in its last days. The last meeting of the District Council took place on March 8th 1954, and the District was incorporated into Chester Council on April 1st 1954.

In its preparations for the change, the District Council drew up a list of properties, including parks and open green spaces, which were to be transferred by order to Chester Council. This document gives the details of all the land purchased for this statutory purpose by the District Council between 1894 and 1954, and under which Acts of Parliament it was acquired. Alexandra Park, with its buildings and structures, contains almost eight acres, 6.231 acres adjoining Canadian Avenue and Panton Road, and 1.653 acres adjoining Canadian Avenue and Hoole Road. The document confirms the legal fact that Alexandra Park was acquired under the 1875 Public Health Act for the benefit and pleasure of the people of Hoole, and that it was purchased by funding from the ratepayers of Hoole. A surprise in the document is the fact that Walker Street Playground (0.238 acres) was acquired under the same act and for the same purposes and is thus similarly protected.

Hoole Allotments, at the rear of properties on the north side of Hoole Lane and the east side of Canadian Avenue were purchased under the Small Holdings and Allotments Act. 1908.

No.3 Bowling Green and its building and structures, (0.429 acres) on the south side of Panton Road extension, was created after the Bowling Greens of Alexandra Park, under the Physical Training and Recreation Act. 1937. What became Coronation Playing Fields, was opened by His Royal Highness, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, on 29th April 1953, just over four weeks before the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth on 2nd June of that year.

The Fields were from two parcels of land. The first, 9.742 acres of Playing field on the south side of and fronting Hoole Road, and the second, a ‘hockey field’, measuring 1.468 acres of land at the western end of Park Drive, were combined to create the Coronation Playing Fields. Both parcels of land were acquired under the Physical Training and Recreation Act. 1937.

The total area of land purchased for the statutory purpose of providing public leisure and recreation was, and remains, 32.28 acres of land.

The orders for all properties transferred from Hoole Urban District Council to Chester Council came into effect on 1st April 1954, the ‘Vesting Day’ of the expanded Council. These properties were then transferred by order, without modification, to Cheshire West and Chester Council, coming into effect on ‘Vesting Day’ 1st April 2009 in whose stewardship the parks and open green spaces now rest for the foreseeable future.

Alexandra Park

[Article researched and written by Linda Webb, June 2018, Hoole History & Heritage Society]