In this week's column, Jason Bock, the leader of Reading Borough Council, yet again celebrates work being undertaken at Prospect Park, as a new playground at the park opens. Councillor Brock writes:

I’m going to be unashamedly parochial this week.

I’m privileged to have two jobs at the Council. One as Council Leader (which keeps me busy enough), and the other as a ward councillor for Southcote. I like to think of the latter as the day job.

It’s always gratifying to hear of brand-new facilities being opened for residents, and it’s especially nice when they are delivered in my own patch. That is the case this week as we open what is, in fact, Reading’s new flagship playground in Prospect Park – just in the nick of time for the two-week Easter school holidays, and a few months ahead of schedule.

This playground is a £530,000 investment on the part of the Council. That is a far from insignificant figure for a playground, but this isn’t the sort of playground that you and I might remember as children. No rusty swings or risky falls onto hard concrete here.

This new provision caters for children of every age and ability and has been carefully designed to allow children to be challenged physically, as well as letting their creativity flourish. Importantly, it has also been designed so that children who may have disabilities can join in the fun.

As well as the more traditional pieces of play equipment you might expect to see in a kid’s playground – like roundabouts, swings, and a zipwire – the new area boast two large climbing towers and a tunnel slide. The climbing area has an access ramp incorporated into it and there are themed zones, including more quiet play areas and activity panels.

In terms of accessibility, there is a ground level roundabout, braille panels, a low-level play net, an accessible see-saw, tactile panels, ground-level games, and a large fully accessible springer. As I say, this is no ordinary kids’ playground. It is a truly unique space and I’m sure it will prove to be an exemplar facility that you will see replicated in other parts of the country.

The new Prospect Park playground is part of the Council’s overall £1 million-plus investment in new playgrounds and new play equipment across Reading for children and families to enjoy. This refresh has been going on for a couple of years now and you may have noticed new equipment in a play park near to where you live.

With the Prospect playground open, we can get on with the second phase of the job which involves dismantling and removing the old playground, the site of which will be reinstated as open park land, and then building a new pedestrian access path running from the car park to the play area, together with a new pedestrian crossing.

The new flagship playground is part of a bigger vision for the Park. This includes The Ranger Station, our recently opened £500,000 multi-use activity centre in part of the pavilion building directly opposite the new play area. The mini-golf and Sky Tykes low ropes activity opened only last year. Other facilities – including a café – will open later this year.

Prospect Park has always been a major destination for local residents in this part of town; a place to relax and enjoy the open green space. By investing in modern facilities for residents, we hope that even more people from across Reading will be encouraged to pay it a visit this coming Spring and Summer.