A FORMER allotment site has been transformed in just two years to become Rugby’s newest park.
The Mayor of Rugby joined residents and guests at a special celebration to mark the official opening of Newbold’s Centenary Park.
The project to transform the site off Parkfield Road into a public space was spearheaded by Rugby Borough Council and the Newbold-on-Avon Community Partnership (NCP).
And at the opening celebration, the park was awarded Centenary Fields status by Fields in Trust – protecting it for generations to come in memory of those who died in the First World War.
The ambitious plans to create Centenary Park were drawn up after 37,000 square metres of land was returned to the council following the construction of the Western Relief Road.
Working with NCP, the council finalised a blueprint for the park, including a play area, outdoor gym, wildlife zones, a nature play trail, a picnic area, a sensory garden and a butterfly bank.
The project secured more than £200,000 from the Landfill Communities Fund (LCF), including a £100,000 grant from the Veolia Environmental Trust, to create the park and wildlife zones.
Waste Recycling Environmental Limited (WREN) funded the play area with a £75,000 grant, while SITA Trust provided a £35,000 grant for the outdoor gym.
In addition, the Woodland Trust supported the project by donating more than 5,000 trees.
Rugby Borough Council environment spokeswoman Coun Lisa Parker said: “The former allotment site had remained untouched for more than a decade when work started on this major project and it’s a real tribute to the vision and dedication of our parks and grounds team these ambitious plans have been realised.
“By working with the NCP, and with the generous support of our funders, we have created a wonderful green space for Newbold residents and the wider community to enjoy for generations to come.”
Coun Claire Edwards, ward councillor for Newbold and Brownsover and one of the founders of NCP, said: “Through working with the partnership, the council has involved Newbold residents in this project every step of the way.
“The transformation of this land has been remarkable and I’m delighted we now have such a wonderful place for the community to enjoy.”
Pupils from Newbold’s Riverside Academy were invited to choose the name of the park, and selected Centenary Park to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War, which coincided with work beginning on the site in 2014.
The official opening celebration included music, a bouncy castle, outdoor gym sessions and the cutting of a cake.
Mayor Coun Richard Dodd was joined by Rugby MP Mark Pawsey and representatives from Fields in Trust and the Veolia Environmental Trust.
Helen Griffiths, chief executive of Fields in Trust, said: “We are delighted Rugby Borough Council has embraced Centenary Fields, commemorating the WWI centenary for the residents of Newbold in a way they can appreciate forever.”
Paul Taylor, executive director of the Veolia Environmental Trust, said: “The new park is an excellent example of how the LCF contributes to the creation of much-needed amenities in our towns, cities and villages. We alone have contributed £2.7 million to projects in Warwickshire since 1998 and we look forward to supporting more.”
Joe Newby, grant manager for WREN, said: “WREN is always happy to consider grant applications for projects that benefit local communities and this is a great example of what can be achieved.”
Marianne Ivin, of SITA Trust, said: “We hope the public really enjoy this vibrant space and congratulate Rugby Borough Council on their management of such a great project.”