Councillors have celebrated the success of a newly opened play park in Swindon by testing out the new equipment and discussing the next steps of the major refurbishment project.

South Swindon Parish Council, in partnership with Swindon Borough Council, reopened Buckhurst Play Area two weeks ago as part of an 18-month scheme to rejuvenate Buckhurst Field in Walcot - set to cost more than £600,000.

The work began on Monday, April 29 and finished on Friday, June 7, with the play park fully reopening last week.

Councillor for Walcott and Park North Steve Allsopp said: “The park needed a refresh because it was looking tired and run-down. We’ve installed new equipment and worked with Mums on a Mission, who advocate for more accessible equipment, so it has been designed with accessibility in mind.

"We have linked access paths and the footpaths have been made wider for wheelchair and pram access to the play park. There’s also equipment for pre-teens and older children, like the zip wire, so there’s something for all ages.

"This is the first part of the project that has been finished completely, but we also plan to rejuvenate the skatepark and football area, as well as the changing rooms, resurfacing the car park and creating an area for ground staff with help from Swindon Borough Council."

He added: “It would be a home base for Swindon Robins FC as around 50 per cent of players live within half a mile from the field and there are discussions about New College using the pitches in the week. We expect all the work to be completed by the middle of next year.”

Councillor Abdul Amin explained: “This development is important because Walcot is a more deprived area and health often suffers in deprived places.

"We have found that many year six students are overweight and we are trying to bridge that gap between deprived areas and non-deprived areas. The play park is necessary for the community so they have a place to come and exercise and it gives local people something to do.”

Councillor Emma Bushell, the deputy leader of Swindon Borough Council, said: “I know there was a huge demand from the community for a volleyball pitch in the area and the pitch can also be used for football and basketball.

“This project is a great example of partnership working between South Swindon Parish Council and Swindon Borough Council.”