Approval for Prospect Park transformation

Plans for a new play hub and activity centre at Prospect Park were given the green light at planning committee on Wednesday.

We are investing over £500k to build a new play hub and activity centre in part of the pavilion building at Prospect Park, which will become a new destination for activities, entertainment and learning for families and children from across Reading and beyond.

Work is now anticipated to begin on site towards the end of the year with the aim of opening in spring 2022.

As part of our ambition to improve health and drive up participation in outdoor and active play, the fantastic new facilities would offer:

  • accessible outdoor family adventure 9-hole mini-golf
  • an indoor ‘Sky Tykes’ low ropes course for younger children age 7 and under
  • a café facility with indoor and outdoor seating
  • new toilet facilities (including an accessible Changing Places facility)
  • multi-function room for parties, meetings and teaching, including those with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND) or excluded from mainstream education
  • an outdoor education area that will also support Reading Play’s educational outreach work which includes using play as a tool to improve particularly vulnerable young people’s social skills and wellbeing

The pavilion is the home of our highly regarded and popular Play Service, and the new centre would also provide an outdoor enclosed education zone to support the team’s educational outreach programmes, including a climbing wall and team building activities, such as den building, archery, an outdoor classroom and much more.

The development is just one aspect of the enhancement and investment we are making within Prospect Park. The playground has been prioritised as urgently needing improvements, particularly free accessible equipment for children of all abilities.

With exciting plans for a new play hub and activity centre at Prospect Park now approved and moving forward, it means an alternative location or a walk-through Covid testing site will need to be found over the next few months.

Whilst the testing centre was well used, this was always intended to be a temporary arrangement pending plans for the Council’s activity centre plans moving forward. We will now work with the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) to find a suitable new location.

Work on the Activity Centre is not expected to begin until late this year. In the interim period, it is important to say the Prospect Park walk-through COVID testing site remains open as usual and we will widely publicise information on any alternative site nearer the time.