The montage shows Cintra play area, Longbarn Lane's  refurbished BMX track, Portman Road play area and ball courts in West Reading

Over £890k playground investments proposed for the year ahead

  • Six play locations due to benefit from improvements
  • Focus on providing accessible facilities where possible
  • Major investment in play at Prospect Park

READING COUNCIL’S major investment across Reading’s parks, play areas and open spaces is set to continue this year, with over £890k earmarked for improving several key locations.

The Council is investing in improving and modernising services and facilities across the town so that every resident can benefit. That includes major investments in Reading’s parks and other leisure facilities, including new swimming pools and a destination ‘play’ hub for Reading.

The Council’s major investment across Reading’s play areas continues, with a number of play areas already completed in the last year and many due to start soon or already well underway.

The provision of accessible equipment continues to be a priority, with the Council working closely with the Accessible Play Task and Finish Group to ensure improving accessibility for children of all abilities.

A report going before Reading Council’s Policy Committee on 14 February, seeks formal approval to invest £891,000 as previously allocated within the capital budget during 2022/23 for essential playground works. The full report to Policy can be viewed here: 

The six key play areas are set to benefit are:

  • Victoria Recreation Ground, Great Knollys Street: a new play area £231,000 (plus £44k Section 106 funding) giving a total of £275,000
  • Prospect Park West Reading: contribution towards a new play area £180,000
  • Coley Park, West Reading: Refresh of existing play equipment £200,000
  • Westfield Road Recreation Ground, Caversham: new play area £200,000
  • Clayfield Copse skate park, Emmer Green: Replacement of damaged units £55,000
  • John Rabson Recreation Ground, South Reading: Replace safety surfacing £25,000

The majority of the new play areas will have a selection of designs that will be put to the public vote.

The playground at Prospect Park has already previously been allocated a £350,000 investment. The relocation and enhancement of this play area with accessible equipment for children of all abilities will begin in the spring and will form part of the major development at this location alongside the creation of a play activity hub within the Prospect Park Pavilion, making this an exciting new destination for activities, entertainment and learning for families and children from across Reading and beyond.

Cllr Karen Rowland, Reading’s Lead Member for Culture, Heritage and Recreation, said: “I’m delighted to be able to highlight the continuing investment the Council is making in improvements to play areas across Reading. 

“The £891,000 capital investment we’ve set out is an important part of our ongoing commitment to delivering real improvements for residents in the areas we know matter to them. This major investment will benefit all residents as our parks and play areas are one of few places people can enjoy themselves for nothing and benefit from the opportunity to keep fit, relax and spend quality down-time with their friends and families. 

“Providing areas that can be enjoyed by all is one of our key priorities and to that, providing accessible equipment so that children of all abilities can play together comes as a key priority that we are continuing to improve over the next year.

“We’ll be promoting the progress we make on improving all our play facilities during this year – so watch this space and we’ll keep you posted as and when the new facilities open!”

The following play areas and open spaces, benefitting from the Council’s Capital investment programme, have already completed:

  • Blagrave Recreation Ground junior and toddler play: £244,000
  • Palmer Park playground: £100,000
  • Amersham Road outdoor gym: £24,000

Family at one of the new Blagrave play areas

Above: a local family enjoying the new equipment in the junior play area at Blagrave Recreation Ground

Many other play areas, parks and open spaces across the borough have been enhanced with investment from Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) – the contribution developers are expected to make towards local facilities – as well as contributions from developers secured via Section 106 planning agreements. Locations that have completed major improvements recently include:

  • Longbarn Lane Recreation Ground in South Reading including a refurbished BMX track and a new outdoor gym
  • Cintra Park in South Reading
  • Portman Road play area and ball courts in West Reading
  • Courage Park, Wensley Road Estate
  • Dover Street children's play area
  • Arthur Newbery Park play area

There will soon be a transformation of the Kenavon Drive play area, Shinfield Road Recreation Ground, Waterloo Meadows play area, Oxford Road Recreation Ground play area, Moriston Close play area and further improvements at Palmer Park, at the toddler play area and the new adventure playground.