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New play area opens at Whitehall Rec

A brand new play area for Rugby’s Whitehall Recreation Ground has opened for use.

A brand new play area for Rugby’s Whitehall Recreation Ground has opened for use.

Whitehall Rec play areaThe new play area and adjacent musical interactive area mark a significant step forwards in what is hoped to be a major revamp of the recreation ground. They were part funded by a £75,000 grant from Veolia Environmental Trust.

Installation is now complete, and the area is open for residents and visitors having passed a safety inspection.

Cllr Lisa Parker, Rugby Borough Council portfolio holder for the environment and public realm, said: “Having had an enthusiastic response from residents to our initial proposals it is fabulous to see this play area complete.

“The Rugby Recreation Ground is Rugby’s oldest open space and really should be a place for all Rugbeians to enjoy. With better access, exciting new equipment, and facilities suitable for all ages and abilities the Rec is once again a place that we can be proud of.

“The generous grant from Veolia Environmental Trust has meant that we have been able to include some wonderful new equipment alongside the best of what we already had.”

Featuring an all-age music area that includes a floor piano, handpipes and Cajun drums, the play area also includes references to Rugby’s scientific greats with a roundabout reminiscent of a jet engine in tribute to inventor Sir Frank Whittle, and a telescope invoking the work of Sir Joseph Norman Lockyer, the astronomer who discovered the element Helium.

Whittle had an office and workshop in Rugby in the years before the second world war, and Lockyer was born in the town in 1836.

Other play equipment installed at the recreation ground includes a play hut, periscope, talk tubes, table tennis and table football, climbing nets, zip lines and swings, while there is also plenty of seating and picnic benches, complete with chess and draughts boards.

Much of the equipment has been chosen to be inclusive for children and young people with special needs or with restricted mobility, and there is easy access for prams and buggies.

The historic rocking horse designed by inventor and entrepreneur Charles Wicksteed has been relocated within the park following its refurbishment.

Other improvements to the wider recreation ground have included improving the view of the war memorial from within the park, new “easy gates” at all pedestrian entrance points, resurfaced and re-graded footpaths where necessary, installation of new drop down bollards to improve access for maintenance while maintaining site security, new litter bins and essential tree works.

Future phases of the restoration of Whitehall Recreation Ground include a new skate park and restoration of the historic bandstand, each of which will be programmed as funding is identified.

Whitehall Rec is a Fields in Trust protected site meaning that it will be kept as a park forever.

More information on the restoration is at

Photo caption: Cllr Lisa Parker, Rugby Borough Council portfolio holder for Environment and Public Realm, and Dan Green, Head of Environment and Public Realm, inspect the new play area.

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