During the Second World War the recreation ground was a vast open space was used as an airfield. Now councillors have raised enough money to revamp Littlemore’s Herschel Crescent Recreation Ground, including a refurbishment of its playground and a BMX track.
A total of more than £80,000 has been raised for the play area, which was last refurbished more than 10 years ago.
Littlemore Parish Council initially raised £10,000 from the parish precept, £7,000 in developer funding from the Cardinal House development, and £5,000 from the county councillors’ ‘Big Society’ budget. Money also came from a Wren grant, and the Big Society budget – raising a total of £82,000. A further £4,500 came from councillors donating ward budgets.
Residents were asked for their feedback on what facilities they wanted to see provided in the green open space, which stretches from Herschel Crescent to Barnes Road in Cowley and is still known to some as the old Cowley airfield.
After more than two years in the planning, the refurbishment is now complete. Additions since work started in January include a zip line, a picnic area, basketball hoop, football pitches and woodland seating.
Plans for the next phase onsite include a custom-made BMX track, with work expected to start on this by late summer.
Mum-of-three Janette Miah was there on the day with her sons, who were excited to explore the site. She said: “It is really cool, the old park was not like that before.”
The idea came from a consultation in 2013 with Cowley and Littlemore residents for what facilities the area needed. But plans stalled last August after soil from Blackbird Leys pool project proved unsuitable.
A £153,000 refurbishment of another Littlemore play area at Oxford Road recreation ground was started last year, which included the installation of a multi-use games area for older children and renovated play area for youngsters.