A masterplan to improve Runcorn’s Town Park has been set out by Halton Council, including the development of three visitor hubs and “substantial investment” in the park’s existing ski slope and facilities.
The Town Park was originally included as part of Runcorn’s new town designation and development and sits between Norton and Castlefields, near Runcorn East station.
Features in the park include Norton Priory, playing fields at Haddocks Wood, three playgrounds, a skate park, a ski slope, and a miniature railway, along with around nine miles of footpaths. Many of these features date to the park’s original layout and design in in the 1960s.
In a series of planned improvements to the park, Halton Council is proposing to work up three different hubs for the park: one in the North, one in the centre, and one to the South.
The Northern hub will focus on Norton Priory, adding improved arrival facilities, access, and car parking, as well as better footpath and cycle route connections, including upgraded links to Halton Castle.
At the centre, Phoenix Park, described as “fairly well established” by the council and featuring an angling lake and extensive play areas, will see improvements aimed at promoting the site for local youth activities.
The Southern Adventure hub is seen as being most in need of investment; the council said the existing ski slope has “poor facilities… and requires substantial investment” to improve the park’s skiing offering.
The council is examining extending the facilities on site to add an outdoor pursuits centre, café, and an upgraded miniature railways and themed playground. Any changes will be brought forward in partnership with the group of volunteers which runs the miniature railway.
According to a report due to go before the council’s executive next week, it is estimated these improvements will cost £1.4m, delivered over a phased basis equating to circa £280,000 of council money per year.
This is likely to come from grants, potentially from the City Region, and from Section 106 monies.
Funding of £339,000 has already been secured to allow the first phase of the works to go ahead. Around £491,000 is due to be spent on improving existing paths and installing new ones, while a further £355,000 will go towards improved entrances and access points.
Halton Council is set to sign off the masterplan on 13 December.