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Play park’s £130k revamp puts kids on top of world
SHH! Don’t tell anyone – it’s not supposed to be officially opened until today.
But these little monkeys have proved they are already experts at climbing and swinging at the Blackbird Leys park playground.
Following a £130,000 revamp, the play park is now open for all.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held during the Leys Fair in the park today.
Children have been having fun on the double zip-wire, jungle swing, sand-pit, climbing wall, and enjoying the new paths.
New fencing separates toddlers from the older children’s area, which has refurbished swings, a slide and multi-unit with a new climbing wall and fitness trail.
Libbie Colner, aged eight, from Greater Leys, a pupil of Pegasus School, said: “I like the zip-wire and I went on the slide.
“It was really good fun.”
Blackbird Leys councillor for Oxford City Council Val Smith, pictured, said she made it her personal mission to see play facilities restored at the park after a year of delays.
Local mums have welcomed the park as a top after-school distraction.
Sian Kelso, of Rest Harrow, said: “My son is eight and I can’t keep him away from the place.
“With that and the adventure playground not far away, there is more for children to do now, which was always the complaint for parents around here.”
The park was the subject of a tug-of-war between residents and the council after a bid to protect the land from overdevelopment last year halted plans for the new playground and changing rooms for the local football teams.
A group of locals attempted to block the £9.2m swimming pool complex on the site by bidding to have the land protected.
The move failed when Oxfordshire County Council stepped in, but it delayed the overhaul of the Pegasus Road playground and changing rooms. It could not stop progress for long, however, and Oxford City Council got on with rebuilding the playground, and also recently voted to build a new pavilion for the sports teams.
Councillor Mark Lygo, board member for parks, sports and events, who will officially open the play area today, said: “The new play area is fantastic and provides a great new resource for children and families who live in Blackbird Leys and the surrounding areas.
“The revamped play area adds to the park, which has recently been awarded Green Flag status, and will be enhanced further by the fitness trail that we are adding.
“I hope the community enjoys the park as well as the fair on Saturday.”
Arsonists targeted the park last month but the damage was limited to rubber matting.
The playground’s facelift is one of several improvements to the area carried out under the Leys Regeneration scheme.
Blackbird Leys Park was recently awarded Green Flag status and will soon see further improvements of £81,750, including £50,000 funded by Waste Recycling Environmental Limited (WREN).
New tree avenues, footpaths, a picnic area and fitness trail will form part of Oxford City Council’s GO Active Fit Trails.
The new fitness trail will create a local route linking Blackbird Leys to Gillians Park and Spindleberry Park, where additional fitness stations will be located.
Work has also started on the new swimming pool complex.
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