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New play area opens at Whitehall Rec

December 10, 2018 1:39 PM
By Rugby Lib Dems

Eastlands TeamA brand-new play area for Rugby's Whitehall Recreation Ground has opened for use. Installation is now complete, and the area is open for residents and visitors having passed a safety inspection.

The new play area and adjacent musical interactive area mark a significant step forwards in what is hoped to be a major revamp of the recreation ground. They were part funded by a £75,000 grant from Veolia Environmental Trust.

Featuring an all-age music area that includes a floor piano, handpipes and Cajun drums, the play area also includes references to Rugby's scientific greats with a roundabout reminiscent of a jet engine in tribute to inventor Sir Frank Whittle, and a telescope invoking the work of Sir Joseph Norman Lockyer.

Other play equipment installed at the recreation ground includes a play hut, periscope, talk tubes, table tennis and table football, climbing nets, zip lines and swings, while there is also plenty of seating and picnic benches, complete with chess and draughts boards.

Much of the equipment has been chosen to be inclusive for children and young people with special needs or with restricted mobility, and there is easy access for prams and buggies. The historic rocking horse designed by inventor and entrepreneur Charles Wicksteed has been relocated within the park following its refurbishment.

Other improvements to the wider recreation ground have included improving the view of the war memorial from within the park, new "easy gates" at all pedestrian entrance points, resurfaced and re-graded footpaths where necessary, installation of new drop down bollards to improve access for maintenance while maintaining site security, new litter bins and essential tree works.

Future phases of the restoration of Whitehall Recreation Ground include a new skate park and restoration of the historic bandstand, each of which will be programmed as funding is identified. Whitehall Rec is a Fields in Trust protected site meaning that it will be kept as a park forever.

Councillors on the Whittle Overview and Scrutiny Committee meet on Wednesday 10 December and will start to investigate if there are ways we can enhance and improve car parking at the Diamond Jubilee Leisure Centre to make it more family friendly and accessible to a wider range of users.

Commenting on the improvements, Councillor Neil Sandison (Eastlands), said:

"We welcome the installation of the new play equipment near the leisure centre that was in urgent need of upgrading so that local children can enjoy both exciting and risky play on Whitehall Recreation Ground .There is still much to be done in terms of this important town centre heritage site regarding refurbishment of the bandstand and a quality tree lined promenades to make it easier to access more parts of the field and reinstate it to a standard that will make Rugby proud of our past and the recreation ground fit for the future.

"Whitehall Recreation Ground has always been an important community asset over its long-life span. We are pleased the Council has recognised this and as local councillors we will continue to encourage and promote its improvement."

More information on the restoration is at www.rugby.gov.uk/WhitehallRec