Plans to transform park set to get green light

Plans to spend more than £1.5 million on the major transformation of a park in Stone are expected to be signed off by chiefs this week.

The entrance to Westbridge Park in Stone. Photo: Google
The entrance to Westbridge Park in Stone. Photo: Google

Stafford Borough Council's cabinet will discuss on Thursday whether to spend the funds to improve Westbridge Park.

The proposals focus on spending the money on improved facilities for youngsters – such as a multi-use games area and wheeled sports provision.

Toilets, seating areas, pathways and landscaping will also be improved with the park being branded a "gateway" to the town in a report by chiefs.

A report, set to be discussed by councillors on Thursday, sets out the plans for "an exciting destination park and major improvements in the leisure offer for the town and its surrounding communities," complimenting the leisure centre and swimming pool which opened on the site in 2019 as part of a £9 million scheme.

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 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.

Councillor Carolyn Trowbridge, cabinet member for leisure, 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. 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.”

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