Whitehall Recreation Ground consultation one step closer to £1.5 million revamp

Chris Worman, Parks Manager and Cllr Dr Mark Williams

Chris Worman, Parks Manager and Cllr Dr Mark Williams

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Rugby’s oldest park could undergo a £1.5 million makeover as part of ongoing plans to revamp and link it to the new leisure centre.

As part of the second consultation stage, Rugby Borough Council hosted a community event on Monday night about the restoration of Whitehall Recreation Ground.

The event was held at the Rugby United Reformed Church, following an initial consultation at the end of last year.

Chris Worman, parks and grounds manager, said: “It went very well indeed. We had a great cross section of the community from local school children, teenagers and bowlers from Thornfield.

“We got the complete demographic of everyone who uses the site and we had a very good discussion. There was a lot of interest.”

The council will now go through the feedback and ideas provided by the public.

It will then submit its bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Parks for People programme in August for money to restore and enhance the recreation ground and bring it back to its former glory.

Mr Worman said: “If our bid is successful we will then do a final plan of what people want. That is the key. This is about what the community of Rugby want. The bid will reflect that.”

Whitehall Recreation Ground is Rugby’s oldest park, at 140 years old.

Mr Worman continued: “People expect a certain of level of facilities in a park. It’s tired and it needs money spending on it. There is a lot of history to it.

“We want to capture the history and people’s memories. This is why we want the community to be part of it.”

The new Diamond Jubilee Leisure Centre, which is being built next to the rec, is due to open its doors next month.

The council hope that the revamp of the rec, which could cost around £1.5 million in funding, will bring the two sites together.

Whitehall Recreation Ground has recently been granted QEII field status, meaning that it is protected as a field forever in celebration of the 2012 Diamond Jubilee.

There is still time to take part in the consultation of the park.

Visit rugby.gov.uk for more information.