New £100k park swings into play

Aime and Ruby Manellari

Aime and Ruby Manellari

First published in Oxford Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by

Children celebrated as one of the final parks to be completed in a £3.1m city-wide revamp was officially opened.

A disused bowling green at Cutteslowe Park has been transformed into a new £100,000 play area, complete with zip wire, adventure tower and large climbing logs.

It is one of the final play areas in Oxford City Council’s play refurbishment programme, which has seen 69 sites improved.

Last night, city board member for parks Mark Lygo said: “I’m incredibly proud of everyone who has been involved in this project.

“I have enjoyed every minute of it. And not just the success of the parks themselves, but the consultations with residents and going into schools.We have involved children at every stage. They seem to have really enjoyed coming up with designs for parks they would like to see.”

He added: “Though we have been asked if we could build a theme park.”

Other parks to have massive refurbishments include Bury Knowle Park in Headington, which now has a Narnia-themed play area, and Florence Park.

The three-year project has now come to an end, with Northway, Rose Hill and Pegasus Road in Blackbird Leys due to be completed soon.

Mr Lygo said: “Some people have asked why we are spending so much money on parks, but you just have to look at what we had before to see the improvements. And this has all been completed in these times of austerity.

“In Oxford we are spoiled for choice with our green spaces, parks, tennis courts, kickabout areas. And you don’t realise that until you visit other areas.”

Cutteslowe Park was officially opened by local councillors, parents and children.

It now includes adventure playground equipment, seating, a boardwalk, footpaths, sandpits and a tunnel slide.

Victoria Manellari, from Bicester, took daughters Aime, two, and Ruby, five to the park. She said: “It’s a fantastic park. We enjoyed it so much we’re going back tomorrow.”

Friends of Cutteslowe and Sunnymead Park chairman Graham Jones, said: “We are very, very pleased with the outcome of this work.

“We had lots of discussions with the groundworks and city council officers and, as with all discussions, there were times we thought this would not go our way.

“But this is just what we needed. It’s a great shame to have lost the bowling green, but this is what the young people needed.”

He added: “I can see this being a very well-used park for a long time to come. Now we just need the weather to get better.”

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