Neston Mayor Pat Kynaston and Neston Town Councillor Ceri Lloyd ignored the rain and enjoyed the facilities during the opening of Sytchcroft Play Area on 29 November – helped by Town Councillors Christine Warner (left) and Janet Griffiths (Photo by Phil Lloyd).
The squally weather did not dampen the spirits of the councillors, officials, volunteers, police and support officers who have worked so hard and so long to achieve a magnificent improvement of the play area in Sytchcroft Park. For many years the area had been of limited value to local children and their parents because of the lack of adequate footpaths, lighting, play surfaces and equipment. Now the park has been transformed by Cheshire West and Chester Council with a significant input from Neston Town Council, Cheshire Constabulary, WREN, Neston Civic Society, Neston S106 Group, and local people, including children, who were involved in the design. Significant Funding has been secured from a variety of sources.
Representatives braved the wind and rain to mark the formal opening of the park, which was finished a few days ago and is already heavily used and appreciated by local families. The park’s upgrade includes much better footpaths, lighting and gateways – and form part of a wider improvement effort from Neston Town Council and partner agencies that stretches from Liverpool Road through Sytchcroft to the town centre. There have been enhancements to the path that links Sytchcroft with the town centre, the mural and flowers on the station and the area adjacent to Raby Road. Thanks to Neston Civic Society there are benches along the path to enable people to take a breather. A key feature of the developments is the addition of CCTV (to be managed by Cheshire Police, funded by Neston Town Council on the park) to protect this valuable facility from anti-social behaviour. It is intended that the park will also benefit from a Friends of Sytchcroft Park group of the type that has worked so well at West Vale.
Councillor Ceri Lloyd, who has led Neston Town Council’s contribution, and chaired the Sytchcroft Working Group said:
‘The transformation of Sytchcroft Park demonstrates how effective a town council can be for its community – understanding local needs and aspirations and then working constructively with those who have the resources and skills to deliver such a scheme. I am grateful for the huge input from Cheshire West and Chester Council and other agencies and individuals – and I’m delighted that this part of Neston now has the significant investment it deserves for its children and their families. I hope that they thoroughly enjoy it – and that they will join us on the Friends group and help to keep the park at the centre of local recreation.’
The formal opening was followed on 10 December 2018 with a visit from Radio Merseyside when Councillor Ceri Lloyd and Councillor Louise Gittins were asked to talk about the transformation of the park from what the reporter thought had been a “grot spot” to one of the best play areas around – and highlighted the inclusion of the park in the borough’s “Smile for a Mile” initiative to improve the fitness of local people.
- Sytchcroft Park was funded by contributions from WREN, Neston Town Council, Neston Section 106 Group, Cheshire West and Chester Council, Ward Member Contributions, Tesco Bags of Help, Adactus Housing Group, Neston Civic Society, Borderlands Community Rail Partnership. Cheshire West and Chester Council provided expertise to deliver the park. Additional community consultation support has been provided by ForHousing Group.
- Children from Neston Primary and Neston High Schools are currently involved in an art project working with a local artist to design a site theme in order to produce site welcome signage and interpretation.
- Children from Woodfall Primary School, St. Winefride’s Catholic Primary School and Neston Primary School planted bulbs at the site ready for spring next year.
- Children from Neston primary School and Neston High School were invited to take part in the opening of the park but due to the poor weather that was not possible.
- Anybody wishing to take part in the Friends of Sytchcroft group should contact Neston Town Council or Dale Jones, Locality Officer at CWAC.