Residents Invited to Vote on New Outdoor Gym and BMX Track Designs for South Reading

READING Borough Council is inviting residents to vote on their preferred design for a new outdoor gym and a BMX track revamp at Longbarn Lane Recreation Ground in south Reading.

Longbarn Lane Recreation Ground has been earmarked for a £155k investment. Around £75k of this investment will be used to install a new outdoor gym. The Council has invited two specialist outdoor gym manufacturers to submit their design ideas for the new outdoor gym. These designs will be used to consult with residents in the surrounding area.

This will include a good mix of robust equipment which is accessible to all. People of all ages and abilities will be able to use and enjoy the equipment installed.

A further £80k will be used to refurbish the existing BMX track. The BMX track will be remodelled and a new tarmac surface will be laid, allowing for a greater rider experience. The council has invited two BMX pump track specialists to submit design ideas for the refurbishment of the existing track. These designs will also be used to consult the residents and schools in the local area.

This BMX track will be suitable for all ages and abilities, as well as other activities such as roller-skaters and skateboarders.

The public consultation will take place from Monday 7 September – Monday 21 September 2020. People can view the designs, vote online and provide feedback at www.reading.gov.uk/Longbarn-Lane

The designs for both the BMX track refurbishment and outdoor gym installation will be on show to the public at Hexham Community Centre and outside South Reading Leisure.

The designs will be accompanied by Covid-secure ballot boxes. Individuals will be able to tear off the slip for their desired option and place it in the box. Hand sanitiser will be available, please use this before and after voting.  Please also wear a face covering inside the building if you can and keep a safe distance from others.

  • Voting at Hexham Community Centre will be available Monday – Friday, 09:00 – 12:00.
  • Voting outside of South Reading Leisure Centre will be available Monday-Friday, 07:00 – 13:00 and 16:15 – 20:00, Saturday 08:00 – 12:00.

Additionally, pupils at Reading Girls School and John Madjeski Academy will be able to view the designs at their school but will be directed online to cast their vote.

The winning design will be announced on the 28 September 2020. It is expected that work will start on site in November 2020 and be ready for use in mid-December.

Karen Rowland, Reading’s Lead Councillor for Culture, Heritage and Recreation, said:

“We know that parks are one of the most valued amenities in Reading. Now more than ever, our outdoor spaces are so important.

“It is one of our key priorities that we provide high quality, accessible equipment in as many of our parks as possible. I’m sure all local BMX enthusiasts are excited at the prospect of a revamped track.

“This is an exciting and worthwhile investment and will benefit large numbers local people for years to come – offering and encouraging free fitness opportunities for all.

“I’m delighted that we are able to put such a significant sum into Longbarn Lane Recreation Ground and I’m really pleased we’ve been able to engage local people and school children in voting for their favourite designs. I’d encourage local residents to check out our shortlisted designs online at www.reading.gov.uk/Longbarn-Lane  where you can vote and comment on the designs. You can also view them in person and vote at Hexham Community Centre and South Reading Leisure Centre. We’ve made sure our ballot boxes are safe to use, but please ensure you use the hand sanitiser available and that you wear a face covering if you can and keep a good distance from others.”

Funding for playground improvements across the borough have been secured by the Council from developers who made a contribution to the Council’s Community Infrastructure Fund.  Reading communities were consulted in 2018 on how money collected from local planning developments should be spent. The top ranked schemes, including Longbarn Lane Recreation Ground in south Reading, were approved at the Council’s Policy Meeting on 26th November 2018.

Other Playground investment agreed and improved, include:

  • £100K – Canal Way – completed in August 2020
  • £100K – Ivydene play area, located next to Portman Road completed in October 2019
  • £95K – Cintra Park, south Reading (scheduled for completion Spring 2021).

Oscar Mortali

For media enquiries about this release email oscar.mortali@reading.gov.uk or call 0118 937 2301