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New playground opens at Cunningham Hill Open Space

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A new £65.000 playground has been built at an open space in St Albans which has been revitalised.

Councillor Anthony Rowlands, Mayor of St Albans City and District Council, opened the new facility at Cunningham Hill Open Space.

Around 30 people, including parents and their excited children along with local Councillors, attended the launch.

The playground includes swings, a slide, a ground-level trampoline, a carousel, a seesaw and other attractions.

St Albans City and District Council has made several major improvements to the community space over the last three years.

These include installing new footpaths, benches and bins as well as enhancing biodiversity with tree planting and wildflower seeding. An allotment site has been extended.

The open space also has two football pitches available for hire and a pavilion with changing rooms.

The Mayor said:

I am thrilled to have opened this wonderful new playground which is the culmination of several years of hard work to provide the Cunningham Hill community with a greatly improved green space.

I am sure it will be used and enjoyed by mums and dads and their children for many years to come. This is now a place where families can come together to get to know each other, enjoy fresh air and some healthy exercise.

The redevelopment was mainly paid for by Section 106 payments, contributions by property developers to provide community facilities.

Funds also came from the City Neighbourhoods Committee’s (CNC) ward allocations, a scheme to improve community assets in the unparished areas of St Albans.

Cllr Robert Donald, Vice-Chair of the CNC, said:

The formal opening of the new play area on Cunningham Field was a moment of real satisfaction for our local community and for me personally as it marked the formal completion of improvement work to this open space which was first proposed some 15 years ago.

The project started with residents originally requesting better access with a path across the field. Following consultation, a crushed granite path was constructed in October 2022 going round both sides of the field and joining with an existing one.

The path allows children to walk to various local primary schools across the field reducing car journeys, traffic congestion and CO2 pollution. It also means commuters can walk to the station more easily, residents can get to the Cell Barnes Lane shops and runners, joggers and walkers can exercise locally and connect with the Alban Way.

The makeover didn't end there, however, and an environmental improvement plan was produced by the District Council and Hertfordshire County Council’s Countryside Management Service which retained the football pitches and the green nature of this open space.

Rewilding has been undertaken with a wildflower meadow area created, additional trees and a hedge planted and an avenue of semi-mature trees set alongside one section of the path. The existing allotments have been improved and eight more added for people on the waiting list.

The work on the play area was the last part of this green space environmental improvement project and it is already proving a big hit with young children living nearby who didn't have anything like this near them before. 

This is a field that belongs to all local residents and I really hope that children and families, young and old, will continue to cherish it and enjoy the improvements that have been made to it now for years to come.

Photos: top, the Mayor opens the Cunningham Hill Open Space playground; below, the Mayor, Cllr Donald (4th from the right) and guests at the opening.


Media contact: John McJannet, Principal Communications Officer: 01727- 819533;