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South Wales’ Gladstone Gardens Boasts Biggest Outdoor Active Zone After Refurbishments

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Gladstone Gardens now boasts the biggest outdoor active zone in Britain after major refurbishment work carried out by the Vale of Glamorgan Council.

The popular park in Buttrills Road is the latest to be revamped as part of a widespread park improvement project across the County.

In February, a new state-of-the-art outdoor gym was opened, the largest in the Country, offering both adults and children the chance to try new fitness programmes available.

This refurbishment is part of a major investment in park facilities across the Vale, with other sites in Barry and spaces in Penarth also receiving a makeover.

Work at Gladstone Gardens included a significant upgrade to the play area, tennis courts and the walls around the park.

Cllr John W Thomas, Executive Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Performance and Resources, said: 

“As a Council, we are committed to promoting a healthy, active lifestyle and having top-quality outdoor spaces for residents to enjoy is key to that aim.

“Gladstone Gardens is the latest park in the Vale to undergo major refurbishment and I’m confident the community will be delighted with the upgraded facilities on offer. The park now has the largest active outdoor zone in Britain so there is plenty to keep people occupied when they visit.

“The work will not finish there. More parks around the County are set for refurbishment as this large-scale project continues.”

Following a public consultation, it was recognised that many aspects of the park required upgrading and refurbishment work began in the autumn of 2016.

Neil Pigdon of Sunshine Play, who designed the gym, said:

“Gladstone Gardens is the largest Outdoor Active Zone of its kind in the UK. The equipment which is manufactured by Kompan is Strong and Durable and includes a state of the art Smartphone APP.

“It is a great success with various groups actively using the facility either on their own or in structured groups. It has been well thought out and the results speak for themselves. We are now hoping to recreate more of these sites around Wales and link them to each other. We know they will contribute to creating a happier and healthier society.”

Members of Barry Youth Action (BYA) ran sessions with students in two local schools, Ysgol Sant Curig and Gladstone Primary School, along with colleagues from the Youth Service and engagement officers from the Council’s Corporate Communications Team.

BYA member Eleri Borges, aged 16, said: “Improving Gladstone Gardens was one of the first issues that we brought up as a group. We wrote to the Vale of Glamorgan Council who said they had funding to help us.

“We held our own consultation in schools, as a lot of them are close enough and use the park a lot in the summer. We wanted to ask them what they wanted to see in the park, and now the place is always busy.”

In September, works commence on the final stage of upgrading both the lower and the upper gardens. The work includes upgrading the footpaths, trees, planting spring bulbs, cleaning the pond and building new seating areas.

During this time parts of the park will be temporarily closed and pedestrians will be redirected.  The works are expected to last 12 weeks.