Thursday, 19 July 2018

Quiet meadow and recreation area set to have outdoor gyms

TWO outdoor gyms could be created in Henley.

TWO outdoor gyms could be created in Henley.

Equipment would be installed at Makins recreation ground, off Greys Road, and Freeman’s Meadow, off Fair Mile, under a three-year plan drawn up by the town council’s ruling Conservative group.

Other improvements that could be made at Makins include extending the fencing around the playground, new toddler play equipment and more seating, a rope swing and a trampoline.

The total cost would be about £250,000.

Councillor Sam Evans, who chairs the council’s parks sub-committee, said she would like the equipment at Freeman’s Meadow to be clustered but for it to be scattered in Makins recreation ground.

She said: “As Freeman’s is used a lot for fitness training, it seems a logical place to put an outdoor gym.

“The reason we’re thinking about having two is because of the reaction from people in the town — it seems to be one of the most popular things we’re looking at.

“I don’t think I’ve been approached by so many people about one subject.”

Other ideas for Freeman’s Meadow include enhancing the play equipment, fencing, resurfacing the play area, dog bins and a pathway at the back of Leicester Close but tennis courts have been ruled out.

People living nearby Freeman’s have said they want it to remain a “quiet oasis” and other suggestions include a wildflower meadow and picnic area.

Cllr Evans said: “Nothing has been decided. There are still discussions about the best place for the equipment because we want as many people as possible to use it.”

She said she hoped work at Makins would begin this year.

“We promised we’d do it when we stood for election,” said Cllr Evans. “We have gone out, talked to everybody in Henley and given them the opportunity to contribute and share their ideas and we’re making it happen in a really constructive way.

“In 12 months’ time you will see a difference and in three years it will be fantastic.”

Members of the sub- committee are to visit parks in Reading that have already undergone revamps and Carolyn Jenkins, landscape design officer at Reading Borough Council, will prepare quotes for the work. A new skate park is also to be built on Makins recreation ground.

Money has already been set aside by the town council, South Oxfordshire District Council and private donors.

In May the project was awarded £75,000 by Sport England under its Inspired Facilities scheme.

The new facility, which will replace the existing dilapidated skate park, will have sunken concrete obstacles rather than hollow metal ones and will cater for BMX bikers, skateboarders and roller skaters.

It is hoped that construction work will begin this year.

Meanwhile, a man living next to Freeman’s Meadow has asked for the goalposts to be moved to prevent footballs coming into his garden.

Tony Lawson-Smith, who lives in Pearce’s Orchard, off Fair Mile, has suggested that the posts be realigned from an east/west position to north/south.

Clr Evans said she was grateful for his comments and would ask him to attend the next sub- committee meeting.

“His comments and feedback will, like everything else, be included in everything that’s considered,” she said.

“We want the residents to be happy but it is also our responsibility to provide a good recreational area.”

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