ENERGETIC villagers will now be able to take their workouts outside thanks to the installation of a new health park.

A new outdoor gym has been placed in the village of Watchfield, which contains separate areas for adults and children, following a major investment of more than a quarter of million pounds.

Following a deal between South Oxfordshire District Council, Watchfield Parish Council and three housing developers building a total of 269 new homes in the area, the money was donated as part of planning permissions.

A large chunk – more than £150,000 – will be used for new fitness equipment, a children’s play area and a multi-use game area.

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Over £42,000 will be spent on building the pitches.

The area will be fenced off for safety and the all-weather surface will be marked for people to play outdoor sports – mini tennis, basketball, badminton and mini-five-a-side football – giving locals a chance to try out new activities.

Villagers will also be able to play the French game petanque, which involves tossing metallic boules, at a newly built pitch.

A spokesperson from the parish council said about the installation: “The outdoor fitness equipment that has already been installed is already proving very popular.

“The improvements to the sports pavilion and play areas have been very well received and help ensure the facilities are used all year round.”

Out of the the £256,851 which has been given by housing developers Barratt, Bovis and Hill Homes, more than £90,000 will go towards extending and improving the village hall on Chapel Hill.

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The money will help to make the building more energy efficient with new windows, doors and lighting, and the shower facilities will use hot water that has been heated via the solar panels on the roof.

New stairs to the stage area will also be built, new flooring installed, storage space enhanced and a new office is also planned.

A spokesperson for the village hall added the investment will help keep running costs low and hiring rates reasonable for residents for many years to come.

Councillor Bethia Thomas, cabinet member for development and regeneration at the district council, said about the improvements: “Watchfield Village Hall and recreation ground is somewhere I used to take my children when they were younger and its always been one of the vital areas for the local community to meet up.

“I am pleased the funds will help to improve and enhance these facilities to help ensure that a strong sense of community continues for all new and existing residents.”