Skate park and musical garden among new features proposed for Whitehall Rec - The Rugby Observer

Skate park and musical garden among new features proposed for Whitehall Rec

Andy Morris 2nd Mar, 2018   0

NEW features such as a skate park, a music garden, a landscaped memorial garden, fitness equipment and sculptures could be introduced to Rugby’s oldest open space.

Detailed proposals for a revamp of the 140-year-old Whitehall Recreation Ground have been unveiled by Rugby Borough Council (RBC) following a public consultation held last year and the award of additional funding for the project.

They include a ‘destination’ BMX and skate park – the design of which is being worked on by local skate, scooter and bike enthusiasts.

An interactive music garden – featuring playable instruments including a floor piano like the one made famous in the 1988 Tom Hanks movie Big – has also been suggested to link with the site’s musical heritage as the host of many outdoor concerts and performances over the years.

A new memorial garden has been proposed for later works to improve the setting of the grade 2 listed War Memorial Gates and create a new space for commemorative services.

A new play area – boosted by a grant from The Veolia Environmental Trust – will include an adventure trail, a zip-wire, and football and table tennis tables, while preserving the existing historic rocking horse.

New footpaths will be added to improve accessibility, particularly for visitors who use mobility scooters, wheelchairs or children’s buggies.

The plan for Rugby Borough Council’s proposed revamp of Whitehall Recreation Ground, including a landscaped memorial garden around the memorial gates (top), and a skate park, playgrounds and music garden (bottom). (s)

The plan also shows fitness equipment dotted around the park, a restored bandstand area, new wildflowers and shrubs, a new sculpture – “possibly reflecting the theme of radio communications bringing people together” – and one of the existing Rugby ball sculptures introduced around town by art collective Kookooshaboo for the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

Separate to the phased improvements, essential maintenance work to damaged and diseased trees was completed in January, and replacement chestnut trees are being planted.

RBC environment and public realm spokeswoman Coun Lisa Parker said: “A number of residents and community groups have helped us put together the masterplan. Previous consultations have had an enthusiastic response, and I’m keen to hear what residents will make of this final masterplan and design for the play area.

“The Whitehall Recreation ground is the oldest open space in Rugby and is protected forever as a Fields in Trust site and as one of their Centenary Fields.

“Its grade 2 listed Memorial Gates make it a special place for Rugbeians and the planned improvements will mean it will be enjoyed by many generations to come.”

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