A PARK which was transformed from an overgrown allotment site has won it’s third national award – just nine months after opening.
Centenary Park was crowned the most improved Fields in Trust site in the UK after an ambitious project gave the area a dramatic facelift.
The Rugby park beat off competition from the Vale of Glamorgan’s Jenner Park and the King George V Playing Field in Barford at a ceremony at Lord’s cricket ground in London.
Centenary Park features a play area, outdoor gym, nature play trail, picnic area and a sensory garden. It was officially opened in March – and just five months later won a prestigious Green Flag award, given to well-maintained and well-managed parks with excellent facilities.
Work on the revamp started in 2014 when Rugby Borough Council and the Newbold-on-Avon Community Partnership drew up plans and secured over £200,000 from SUEZ Communities Trust, Veolia Environmental Trust and WREN.
The Woodland Trust donated over 5,000 trees, and Newbold’s Riverside Academy pupils led the public consultation and chose the park’s name – which commemorates the centenary of the First World War.
The council also worked with Warwickshire Wildlife Trust and the Warwickshire branch of Butterfly Conservation to develop the park’s wildlife zones and butterfly bank – which last month earned the park a Bees’ Needs Award for helping pollinating insects.
At the opening ceremony it was awarded Centenary Fields status by Fields in Trust – protecting it for generations to come in memory of those who died in the Great War.
Coun Claire Edwards, Newbold and Brownsover ward councillor and one of the founders of the Newbold-on-Avon Community Partnership, said she was delighted.
She added: “Looking back at the state of the site when we first started work on the plans, it’s hard to believe how much we have achieved in such a short space of time.
“It was a real community project, with residents involved from the early design stage to the grand opening earlier this year.
“It’s wonderful this work has been recognised on the national stage by Fields in Trust, and it’s a fitting tribute to everyone who supported the project along the way.”
Coun Lisa Parker, Rugby Borough Council’s public realm spokeswoman, said: “The former allotment site had remained untouched for more than a decade and it was without doubt one of the most ambitious park projects we have ever undertaken.
“But by working so closely with Newbold-on-Avon Community Partnership and residents, we all rose to the challenge and have delivered a wonderful green space in the heart of the community.
“The council’s parks and grounds team has enjoyed a spectacular year, with a brace of Green Flag Awards, a gold in the Heart of England Bloom Awards and a gold in the national Britain in Bloom finals.
“This Fields in Trust award for Centenary Park is the icing on the cake.”
A national charity founded in 1925, Fields in Trust works to safeguard green spaces and ensure communities have access to outdoor venues for sport, play and recreation.