A popular Runcorn Park has had a £339k facelift, making it more accessible and pleasant for the public to use, in a major boost for the area. – with more to come, including improved signage.
It also now has two full time workers, Jon and Chris, in the park, keeping it in top condition for people to enjoy, with their roles over the years being worth £200k.
A car park, paths and drainage have all been modernised. The next phase of works will address the flooding issue at Stockham Lane.
Visitors will have noticed some improvements, to this much-loved Runcorn open space, thanks to a Halton Borough Council ‘masterplan’ for the area, funded by Viridor and WREN, with further enhancements in the pipeline.
The first project to be completed saw improvements to the ski Slope car park off Stockham Lane get a facelift in June 2019.
In September of the same year, works started on two of the main footpaths which connect Norton Lane and Stockham Lane.
The paths, more than one km in length, have been widened to three metres and have been resurfaced in tarmac which will be suitable for all park users.
Paths have also benefited from improvements to soft landscape works along the footpath corridor, such as hedge laying and vegetation clearance, helping to improve visibility.
Existing street furniture has been refurbished and new seating has been installed at regular intervals along the footpath routes.
Halton Borough Council has also taken the opportunity to make improvements to drainage as well as enhancements to the existing brook and ditch crossings.
Halton Borough Council’s Executive Board Member for the Physical Environment, Cllr Ron Hignett, said: “The aim for the next phase of works set out in the Town Park Masterplan Strategy is to carry out further enhancement to the park’s paths and entrances off Palace Fields Avenue to connect up with the projects already competed.
“As well as improving opportunities to hold events in the existing “Mini-Wembley” arena in this part of the park.
“Subject to funding, the aim going forward will be to continue the gradual improvements to the park’s infrastructure and features such as improvements to entrances, boundaries and signage which will be rationalised and better defined, improving access and circulation for park users and better access for management purposes.”
The more recent investment in the park from the Runcorn Energy from Waste fund is £130,000 for the Ski Slope Car Park (car park construction including surfacing, drainage and walling) and £209,000 on the Southern Path Improvements (widening and resurfacing over 1km of existing footpaths in Town Park to 3m wide with street furniture improvements.
A bid is due to go in shortly to the Runcorn Energy Form Waste fund for the Town Park Palace Fields Avenue Improvements (boundary, entrance and footpath improvements to enable access for park events).
Improvement works to the entrance to Town Park from Shopping City on Holt Lane is also currently being progressed as part of the wayfinding and pedestrian improvements for Halton Lea funded by the Liverpool City Region Town Centre Fund.
Five years of funding was granted for the park workers. We are just over three years in to that. The funding includes the vehicle and all of their equipment.
The staff are on permanent contracts. The idea was that if the project works (and it certainly has) then a further five years funding would be granted.
Some information about Town Park.
1. Town Park in Runcorn is largest park in the Borough and sits at the heart of the New Town. Developed as part of the New Town in the 1970s the park transferred to Halton Borough Council in 1994.
2. Town Park is home to Runcorn Ski Centre and the Halton Miniature Railway (the latter opened in 1979). It includes large areas of remnant countryside consisting of meadows and woodlands.
3. In July 2010 HBC opened a new play area at Stockham Lane adjacent to the Halton Miniature Railway.
4. From July 2017 Town Park was staffed with two full time Park Workers. The park had not had its own dedicated maintenance workers since the early 1990s. The placing of the staff in Town Park was made possible by funding from the Viridor Runcorn Energy from Waste plant.
5. In 2018 the Council adopted a Masterplan for Town Park.