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Outdoor gym plan for Henley parks
Published 25/07/14

AN outdoor gym could be built in Henley.

Town councillors want to set up exercise equipment for adults at one of the town’s recreation grounds.

They have no specific plans yet but have formed a working group to research and devise a detailed proposal. The council has set aside up to £10,000 in its budget for 2014/15 to cover the cost of building it.

If the scheme went ahead it would be likely to go on one of the green spaces which the authority owns. This could include Mill and Marsh Meadows, Makins recreation ground or the town green at Gillotts Field, both off Greys Road, or Freeman’s Meadow off Fair Mile.

The council’s recreation and amenities committee discussed the idea on Tuesday night. Cllr Joan Bland said: “This is really worth looking into. We look after our children but we need to look after our adults as well.

“South Oxfordshire District Council does not supply any facilities except the leisure centre [in Gillotts Lane] which probably isn’t accessible to everybody.

“I have seen people using outdoor gyms elsewhere and they are always very successful. They are very strong and sophisticated pieces of kit.”

Town clerk Mike Kennedy said the equipment would not be covered by insurance on Mill or Marsh Meadows as the site is a flood plain.

However, he added: “It should not be a problem as our other items of [play] equipment have not suffered when there is flooding.”

Cllr Stefan Gawrysiak said he did not support putting the kit on Mill Meadows but Marsh Meadows was a possibility.

Several councillors said Freeman’s Meadow was too remote but Cllr Jeni Wood pointed out that Fair Mile is a popular route for runners.

Some felt it should be built near children’s playgrounds so that families can exercise together.

However, Cllr Ian Reissmann said it was not worth debating locations without a detailed proposal.

Cllr Bland volunteered to form a working group along with Cllr Elizabeth Hodgkin and Henley Mayor Martin Akehurst.

They will discuss how much equipment should be purchased, whether £10,000 is a realistic budget and where it could go.

They will also debate whether there should be a consultation and how the project should be tendered.

The group will report back with its findings when the committee meets again on September 9.

Published 25/07/14

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