New play area opens in time for the holiday rush

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CHILDREN in Stowmarket had an extra special treat this school holiday as the newly refurbished play area opened at the town’s Recreation Ground.

The Stowmarket Town Council project to improve facilities at the old recreation ground site, in Recreation Road, included the new £36,000 play area, which was officially opened on Friday.

The play area concludes a major £200,000 overhaul and revamp of the popular children’s spot, including a new skate park and ball park.

Daniel Harvey, public services manager at Stowmarket Town Council, said: “The new play area was desperately needed. The Recreation Ground is a popular area for people to meet and socialise and it needs a good quality play site.

“With the ball park and skate park as well, we’ve now got play facilities at the Recreation Ground to rival most other parks in the area.”

The play area was funded by the Suffolk County Council Corporate Regeneration Fund, Mid Suffolk Local Strategic Partnership and The Big Lottery.

“Getting the funding for the play area was not easy but after three failed funding bids we were eventually successful,” said Mr Harvey.

Stowupland-based Design and Development East Anglia began installing the new play area, including a climbing wall and net, in November 2010.

The company has also recycled some of the old play area equipment, such as the slide and swings.

Youngsters were also thrilled when the improved skate park opened at the beginning of the month. It will be officially opened on May 31 as part of the Stowmarket Festival celebrations, and is set to feature an appearance by professional skaters.

Stowmarket Town Council now hopes to transform the old Recreation Ground toilet block and give it a new lease of life.

Plans include converting the building into a café with new public toilets.

David Blackburn, Stowmarket town clerk, is looking for a partner, an enterprising firm or individual, to get involved with the conversion.

“It [the Recreation Ground] is already a popular place in the town for people to visit and I’m sure that the new play facilities on site will attract even more people,” said Mr Blackburn.