THREE designs have been unveiled for a £220,000 project to redevelop Witney’s only outdoor pool as part of a “master plan” for The Leys park.
The paddling pool in the park was closed in February because of broken slabs and before that the 45-year-old facility had to be shut five times last year due to broken bottles being found in the water.
Almost 2,000 people have joined a Facebook group supporting a campaign for a “splash park” to be created in The Leys.
Now, after setting up a working party for the site, Witney Town Council has commissioned three possible designs for a “splash pad”.
It would not hold standing water but instead be a ground-level surface with various jets and play areas for children.
The development, which could also include adding play equipment between the tennis courts and splash pad, is expected to cost up to £220,000.
The town council has already pledged £70,000, which it is hoping to add to with match-funding.
Further funding would come from fundraising.
It is part of the council’s vision for the future of the area, dubbed The Leys Master Plan, which it is hoping residents will help to shape.
Other ideas put forward include a cafe, an improved pavilion and a fitness trail.
Town council facilities manager Claire Swan said future costs of other projects is not yet known.
Witney mum-of-one Claire Barr, 32, a personnel officer for Oxford University, said: “We would love a new splash park, it would be amazing for families if it was something like Hinksey.
“The plans were excellent, with lots of things to entertain the children. The water area specifically would be great for the kids.”
She added: “I think Witney would welcome something newer and exciting for the children.”
Mother-of-two Jane Cotter, 39, of Madley Park, Witney, said: “We were in Canada on holiday and these splash pads were there.
“The boys loved them and they are great in terms of upkeep.”
Lisa Hutchings has been taking her children, Caitlyn, five, and Zavier, two, to Abingdon to use a splash pad there.
Mrs Hutchings, of Birchwood, Carterton, said: “It will be fantastic to have something closer to home. Whenever we used to want to use the old one it was either closed or didn’t look very clean.”
The town council hopes the new splash pad will be open for next summer.
The campaign group welcomed the plans. Member Kelly Hale said: “As soon as it can be done the better. The designs are brilliant.”
Residents have until September 30 to comment on the master plan.
Claire Swan said: “If people want to get involved with raising money they are more than welcome.”
- The splash park committee is holding a meeting on Wednesday for people to get involved with fundraising and is hoping to gain charitable status in order to raise money for the project. The meeting is at Langdale Hall from 7.30-9pm.
- The Leys Master Plan can be viewed at witney-tc.gov.uk and consultation forms can be picked up from the town hall, in the Market Square.