Plans to transform one of the area’s most popular green spaces have been agreed by Eastleigh Borough Councillors.
Following last night’s meeting of the Hedge End, West End and Botley Local Area Committee (HEWEB) Itchen Valley Country Park will see work start on a range of improvements in a £3.3 million scheme designed to enhance its appeal as a much-loved family destination for recreation, relaxation and events.
The project will bring exciting new features to the country park, including: a new community building at High Hill Field, remodelling of Highwood Barn and Kingfisher Barn, better barbecue and picnic areas, and upgraded play equipment. A central events and welcoming space at Highwood Barn will incorporate a covered outdoor seating area for customers to the popular Woodland Café.
The improved facilities will also provide greater accessibility, with a Changing Places room for disabled users, as well as additional toilets. Car parking will be upgraded and the riverside access road will be diverted to keep vehicles away from park users.
Council Leader, Councillor Keith House, said: “It is great news that the HEWEB Local Area Committee have given the go-ahead for this exciting range of improvements. Itchen Valley Country Park plays an important role in the wellbeing of local people, as well as visitors from further afield. The planned works will bring exciting new elements that will make it more versatile for a range of events and activities, while preserving it and as a valued local amenity, where Borough residents can enjoy its tranquil surroundings.”
Architects and master planners for the built elements of the scheme are RH Partnership Architects (rhp) who also created the award-winning Lakeside Centre at Lakeside Country Park in central Eastleigh, which is also Council-owned.
Phillip Naylor, Director of RH Partnership Architects, said: “rhp aim to create stimulating places for people to enjoy, live and work in, schemes that also benefit the wider community, using energy and natural resources in a considered, environment-friendly way. It’s been a pleasure to work with Eastleigh Borough Council to develop proposals for Itchen Valley County Park that will deliver huge benefits for the local and regional communities.”
The country park is operated by Eastleigh Borough Council and is a regular recipient of the Keep Britain Tidy charity’s Green Flag Award, Itchen Valley Country Park already attracts a steady stream of visitors, particularly in the warmer months. Its 440-acres include water meadows and woodland, with waymarked trails, an indoor play area and an outdoor play trail. The park is also home to the Go Ape treetops adventure attraction.
The funding for the improvements to the park will come from developer contributions, the New Homes Bonus and borrowing repaid from future income generation.
Find out more about Itchen Valley Country Park