A major new play area with state-of-the-art interactive equipment will open at Cantley Park in Wokingham town on Friday (18 March).
The £450,000 facility, which is expected to attract families from across the borough, replaces the old equipment near the park’s tennis courts and complements the park’s range of other sport and leisure facilities.
It has been designed in partnership with the Council by Jupiter Play, an award-winning British supplier, to appeal to children of all ages, including teenagers, and is inclusive with wheelchair-accessible equipment. The equipment is laid out in zones for different age groups, allowing all ages to use the interactives and play together with their families.
Michael Hoenigmann, managing director of Jupiter Play and Leisure Ltd, said: “Cantley Park has been a really interesting project to work on. It combines the most innovative interactive play equipment with some signature traditional play pieces that will offer excitement, challenge and variety to the local community.
"The colours and styling of both the equipment and surfacing give it a bespoke playful feel which families will enjoy for many years to come.”
The play area features cutting-edge interactive kit, manufactured by Yalp, which aims to make playing outside as compelling as video games – but without the screen time. This includes an interactive DJ booth, dance arch, play pillars and games wall.
Cllr Michael Firmager, deputy executive member for environment and leisure, said: “We’re delighted to be opening this exciting new play area and would like to thank our residents for their patience while we were putting the finishing touches to it.
“It’s been eagerly awaited, and we know it has taken a little longer than expected to complete but we’re confident it’ll prove worth the wait.
“As part of our wider commitment to enriching residents’ lives and offering them every opportunity to live healthily, we want our children and young people to have spaces to play and be active outside.
“However, we know these days that we’re in competition with the latest gadgets and digital distractions – and that’s why we chose a design which offers similar rewards and will encourage young people to get off the sofa and enjoy it.
“Cantley Park already has so much to offer and is a real asset to our borough as a place where people go to exercise, play sport, relax and enjoy a meal or a night at the theatre. We’re proud to be giving families another fantastic reason to visit.”
The new play area was fully funded by contributions from developers building new homes in the area, which they are required to provide to improve play areas and parks for new residents and the wider community.
It follows the opening of another major play area at California Country Park, near Finchampstead, in April last year. There are two other destination play areas, at Elms Field in Wokingham town and Dinton Pastures Country Park near Winnersh.
Cantley Park has received a further £1.6million in investment from the council to improve its facilities, include a new floodlit artificial sports pitch which opened last autumn thanks also to a £616,619 grant from the Premier League, The FA, and the Government’s Football Foundation.
It has a refurbished sports pavilion with new changing facilities, a viewing balcony and a café which hosts regular events. There is also a small auditorium which hosts community productions and drama workshops.
The park is well-served for those wanting to walk or cycle there and lies on one of the council’s new greenways, which are generally traffic-free routes connecting key destinations around the borough.
A section of greenway through the park was completed last year and, subject to public consultation, this will eventually link to the major new community at Arborfield Green via Woosehill when complete.
For the latest updates on open spaces and other leisure facilities across the borough, as well as information about upcoming events, residents can sign up to the council’s Wokingham Borough Connect newsletters.
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