A new play area has opened at Whitehall Recreation Ground as part of what is hoped to be a major revamp of the park.
Partly funded by a £75,000 grant from the Veolia Environmental Trust, the play area also includes an adjacent ‘music area’ – where Rugbeians of all ages can hit all the right notes with a floor piano, handpipes and Cajun drums.
Cllr Lisa Parker, Rugby Borough Council portfolio holder for the environment and public realm, said: “Having had an enthusiastic
response from residents to our initial proposals it is fabulous to see this play area complete.
“The recreation ground is Rugby’s oldest open space and really should be a place for all Rugbeians to enjoy.
“With better access, exciting new equipment, and facilities suitable for all ages and abilities the Rec is once again a place that we can be proud of.
“The generous grant from Veolia Environmental Trust has meant that we have been able to include some wonderful new equipment alongside the best of what we already had.”
The play area features references to some of Rugby’s famous scientists, with a roundabout made to look like a jet engine in tribute to
inventor Sir Frank Whittle, and a telescope invoking the work of Sir Joseph Norman Lockyer, the astronomer who discovered the element helium.
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 a wealth of seating and picnic benches, complete with chess and draughts boards.
A lot 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 permanently.
For more information on the restoration visit www.rugby.gov.uk/WhitehallRec