Work begins on new play area at Whaley Bridge Memorial Park ahead of reservoir restoration project

High Peak Borough Council has begun work to install new temporary play equipment in Whaley Bridge’s Memorial Park as part of the project to address issues with the neighbouring reservoir which caused a major incident in 2019.

By Ed Dingwall
Friday, 21st January 2022, 12:40 pm

The existing play area will need to be removed to allow work to be carried out on creating a new spillway and wider restoration of Toddbrook reservoir.

To minimise disruption to park users, a temporary play area is being created at the top end of the park adjacent to the multi-sports court and nearby pavilion.

Contractors Wicksteed arrived be on site this week to install the new equipment and the play area is expected to be open by the end of January.

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Councillor Damien Greenhalgh, right, joined members of the Friends of the Memorial Park and Trefer Jones from AES in the park last year to celebrate the park being awarded a Green Flag in 2021 for the seventh successive year.

Councillor Damien Greenhalgh said: “Being active and moving more is a key part of maintaining good physical and mental health so ensuring play areas like this are available to local communities is so important.

“I’m sure residents of Whaley, and those who love the Memorial Park, will welcome this new provision and make full use of it.”

The reservoir project is the responsibility of the Canal and River Trust, and a planning application for the work is due to be considered by the council in February.

If the application is approved, both play areas will be open to the public for a short period before work on the reservoir begins.

Coun Greenhalgh said: “The work the trust need to do to repair and restore Toddbrook Reservoir is necessary and means that the removal of the existing play area is unavoidable.

“We know how much people value the amenities provided in the park so I’m really pleased that we’ve secured these alternative facilities from the trust for the community which will be in place and open before the closure of the existing play area so there will be no loss of play opportunities.”

Tom Greenwood, project manager for the trust, said: “We are grateful for the support of the council with this alternative facility which means local families can continue to enjoy valuable play opportunities during our construction works.”

In August 2019, more than 1billion litres of water had to be pumped from the reservoir following damage to the spillway, which also forced a temporary evacuation of the town.

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