Merseyside has a hidden park – and you need a key to get inside.
You need to be a member to be able to access this “safe” patch of green space, tucked away off Warren Road in leafy Blundellsands.
The “Key Park” is one of only a few members-only parks in the country.
Spanning some 20 acres, major landowners, the Blundell family put the land which now forms the park into a trust for the benefits of people living in the area back in 1905.
As a result, the park’s website says it is now a “safe area for members’ quiet enjoyment” allowing them to walk in “a variety of natural landscapes”.
How does it work?
Each member has a key, allowing them access to the park.
Anyone in a member’s household can use the key, along with up to two guests per visit.
There are no specific opening or closing times.
The locks are changed each September and all members who wish to continue – and have complied with the rules – are given a new key.
Keys from previous years will no longer work and are handed in.
Special keys are used, owners say, and locksmiths will not copy them.
Memberships are not transferable, even to friends or family, and they also cannot be handed down from one generation to the next.
What is inside the park?
The park has plenty of green space, as well as a children’s play area.
Its website bills it as a place to “exercise pets” and “taking in your surroundings in relative peace and quiet”.
The park is a designated Site of Local Biological Interest (SLBI) due to its combination of wildlife, plants and habitats.
Who can join?
The park is quite exclusive.
Only people living in the L23 postcode area – and L22 when numbers allow – can become members.
Members must pay fees and adhere to the park’s rules.
The Key Park’s website says: “Any full time resident in the area who meets these requirements can be a member.
“Members who move away from the area cannot retain their memberships as this would not be consistent with the purpose of the trust.”
How much does it cost?
An annual subscription to the park costs £102.
If you lose your key a £40 fee is also payable.
What are the park’s rules?
As started earlier in this article, you cannot lend your key to non-members – or bring more than two guests on any visit.
Children aged 12 and over cannot use the play equipment, while cycling and ball games are not allowed anywhere in the park.
Dog owners must keep their dogs under control at all times and pick up after them.
Bitches “in season” must not be brought into the park.
Wardens will “periodically” ask members to produce their keys for inspection, and to identify themselves.
Other rules can be found here
Are they accepting new members?
To “avoid the park becoming over-crowded and damaged”, the Trustees have limited the number of keys issued to 800.
There is a “healthy” waiting list, organised by date of application.
Demand soared during the pandemic and there is now more than 400 people on the waiting list – and applications have been suspended for the time being.
The park is a charity run by a small group of volunteer trustees who give their time freely, pay the same membership fees as everyone else and receive no payment or benefits in kind.
The money received from membership fees and donations pays for wardens and a secretary, as well as the cost of maintaining the park.
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