Over £890k playground investments proposed for the year ahead

Our major investment across Reading’s parks, play areas and open spaces is set to continue this year, with over £890k earmarked for improving several key locations.

We are investing in improving and modernising services and facilities across the town so that every resident can benefit. That includes major investments in Reading’s parks and other leisure facilities, including new swimming pools and a destination ‘play’ hub for Reading.

Our investment across Reading’s play areas continues, with a number of play areas already completed in the last year and many due to start soon or already well underway.

The provision of accessible equipment continues to be a priority, and we will work closely with the Accessible Play Task and Finish Group to ensure we improve accessibility for children of all abilities.

A report going before Reading Council’s Policy Committee on 14 February, seeks formal approval to invest £891,000 as previously allocated within the capital budget during 2022/23 for essential playground works. View the full report to Policy here.

The six key play areas are set to benefit are:

  • Victoria Recreation Ground, Great Knollys Street: a new play area £231,000 (plus £44k Section 106 funding) giving a total of £275,000
  • Prospect Park West Reading: contribution towards a new play area £180,000
  • Coley Park, West Reading: Refresh of existing play equipment £200,000
  • Westfield Road Recreation Ground, Caversham: new play area £200,000
  • Clayfield Copse skate park, Emmer Green: Replacement of damaged units £55,000
  • John Rabson Recreation Ground, South Reading: Replace safety surfacing £25,000

The majority of the new play areas will have a selection of designs that will be put to the public vote.

The playground at Prospect Park has already previously been allocated a £350,000 investment. The relocation and enhancement of this play area with accessible equipment for children of all abilities will begin in the spring and will form part of the major development at this location alongside the creation of a play activity hub within the Prospect Park Pavilion, making this an exciting new destination for activities, entertainment and learning for families and children from across Reading and beyond.

The following play areas and open spaces, benefitting from our Capital investment programme, have already completed:

  • Blagrave Recreation Ground junior and toddler play: £244,000
  • Palmer Park playground: £100,000
  • Amersham Road outdoor gym: £24,000

Many other play areas, parks and open spaces across the borough have been enhanced with investment from Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) – the contribution developers are expected to make towards local facilities – as well as contributions from developers secured via Section 106 planning agreements. Locations that have completed major improvements recently include:

  • Longbarn Lane Recreation Ground in South Reading including a refurbished BMX track and a new outdoor gym
  • Cintra Park in South Reading
  • Portman Road play area and ball courts in West Reading
  • Courage Park, Wensley Road Estate
  • Dover Street children's play area
  • Arthur Newbery Park play area

There will soon be a transformation of the Kenavon Drive play area, Shinfield Road Recreation Ground, Waterloo Meadows play area, Oxford Road Recreation Ground play area, Moriston Close play area and further improvements at Palmer Park, at the toddler play area and the new adventure playground.