Councillors asked to give green light for near £2.5m spend on leisure in Stone

    29/09/2021



    More than £1.5 million has been set aside for the major transformation of Westbridge Park in Stone. 

    The increased funding has been revealed in a report that will go before senior councillors in Stafford Borough next week (7 October.) 

    Members of the council’s cabinet will be asked to give the go ahead to spend the money on improved facilities for youngsters, a multi-use games area, wheeled sports provision, outdoor gym equipment, as well as toilets, picnic and seating areas, enhanced pathways and landscaping. Key space for local events and existing football provision will also be incorporated in the design. 

    The report says that the park is the gateway to Stone Town Centre and sets out proposals for ‘an exciting destination park and major improvements in the leisure offer for the town and its surrounding communities,’ complementing the leisure centre and swimming pool which opened on the site in 2019 as part of a £9 million scheme - the largest single investment ever made by the borough council. 

    The cabinet will also hear that the huge transformation would encourage more people using the neighbouring Trent and Mersey Canal for narrowboat holidays to stop and visit the town – with a boost to the local economy.  

    The cabinet will be meeting on Thursday 7 October to discuss the spending plans and will give an indication of timescales for when work on the project will begin. 

    A topographical survey of the park has already been carried out and designers are finalising plans which will be available to the public soon. 

    Cabinet Member for Leisure, Councillor Carolyn Trowbridge, said she wanted to ensure the transformation of Westbridge Park continued the local authority’s ‘excellent’ track record of improving popular destination parks – such as the £400,000 refurbishment of Charnley Road and £435,000 revamp of Holmcroft Park in Stafford recently. 

    Now cabinet members will be told that more than £1.5m will be spent on the transformation of Westbridge Park as part of an overall pot of over £2.4 million for leisure improvements in the town. 

    Councillor Trowbridge said: “This will be a first-class destination park which will attract families and children, residents and visitors, old and young, to enjoy the facilities and the surrounds of this park. 

    “It is a key element of our overall leisure, tourism and visitor offer for Stone, with ready access to the canal and the town centre, providing accessible walking and cycling routes linking together the town’s key assets and supporting our objective to support and grow the visitor economy as well as supporting local businesses and providing a high-quality outdoor environment designed to enhance the health and wellbeing of residents and visitors alike. 

    “The park also provides an important space for events, including the annual Food and Drink Festival – and the design incorporates this important space and the existing football provision.” 

    She continued: “Over the last 18 months we have seen how important good quality parks are to people’s mental and physical health and we want to ensure Westbridge Park is no exception – with facilities to attract visitors whether that be to play, relax, exercise, meet up with others or attend events.” 

    She added: “The borough council has an excellent track record in producing wonderful parks that are well loved and used by the community. I am looking forward to seeing the final designs for Westbridge Park soon.” 

    The report reveals funding for the project has been boosted through money the borough council receives as part of developments in and around Stone. 

    An outline of funding for other leisure facilities such as the town’s Stone Hockey and Rugby Club and Alleyne’s School is also included in the report to the cabinet. 

    The full report will be available from the council’s website from Thursday (30 September).

    Press Release No 5812

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