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Thornton park to be transformed with much needed improvements

Runnells Lane Park in Thornton is to be transformed by Sefton Council with much needed improvements to its play and recreation facilities as well as its paths and landscaping.

Officers will be hosting a socially distanced drop-in session on Thursday 20th May from 3pm to 6pm to offer residents and park users the chance to see detailed plans of the improvements.

They are also looking for members of the community to help establish a Friends of Runnells Lane Park group who would undertake volunteer duties and support events and activities. Those interested should contact Green Sefton by email greensefton@sefton.gov.uk.

Funding has been secured by Manor Ward funding, the Council’s Green Sefton service in partnership with the Neighbourhoods Team though the Veolia Environmental Trust, who support community projects across the whole of England. A contribution of Section 106 Planning monies has also been allocated to the park improvements.

Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing said: “It’s fantastic news that our Neighbourhoods Team have worked collaboratively with our Green Sefton Officers to source funding for these improvements that will benefit people of all ages in this area.
“This is the only public park in Thornton and our residents have asked us to look at how we could improve children’s play opportunities and make the most of this important community space.”

Cllr Ian Moncur, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said:
“As our outdoor spaces are proving more popular than ever, we are dedicated to finding ways to develop sites like this so that our residents have green spaces right on their doorstep that can be enjoyed by all.”

Designs have been drawn up that include a new play area for toddlers with a mixture of play equipment including swings, springers, a seesaw, climbing net and an accessible roundabout for those with disabilities. Plans also include the introduction of a cantilever swing suitable for teens to broaden the age range of the play equipment in the park.

The existing multi-use games area will be refurbished, and new paths will be created around the edge of the site. New bins and benches will be installed, and trees are to be planted around the boundary of the park to improve the local environment and wildlife.

Cllr Moncur added: “I’d urge people to get in touch with Green Sefton to find out more about these exciting plans and to think about ways to get involved in the Friends of Runnells Park initiative. Volunteering just a small amount of time in our outdoor spaces can be hugely beneficial for health and wellbeing, it’s a great way to connect with others and to influence how your local space can be used to benefit the community that live there.”

Lizzie Cooke, from The Veolia Environmental Trust, said: “We are really pleased to award £75,000 via the Landfill Communities Fund to support this project.

“We look forward to seeing the improvements that will create an accessible outdoor space for all to enjoy, promoting active lifestyles and contributing to the health and well-being of all the community.”

It is planned that the work will take place towards the end of 2021 with opening of the new facilities in early 2022.