PLANS for a new £770k park in Widnes have been given the green light by council chiefs, but it could take up to five years to come to fruition.

The authority’s executive board met to rubber-stamp proposals for a new masterplan, which aims to transform Arley Drive playing fields and nearby green space on Bankfield Road into a new landscaped park with new paths, tables and chairs, cycle routes and upgraded lights and sports facilities.

The playing fields are already widely used by sports teams and the council said the plan was to retain them for sports use, but with improved parking, access and pitches.

The development is expected to take between four and five years to be completed, depending on the availability of outside funding.

The proposals include:

  • Widening existing cycleways to create a shared pedestrian and cycle route. The new route will include seating areas and provide access to nearby streets and green areas.
  • New car parking for sports pitch users to tackle congestion in residential areas on match and training days.
  • Developing the existing grassland to create a 'high quality' park landscape with increased biodiversity, wild flowers and grass. There would also be a new network of paths linked to shaded groves of trees.
  • Contemporary furniture such as tables and chairs will be introduced.
  • Upgrading existing facilities such as the multi use games area.

A report to the board, said: “Although different in character, this investment will raise the overall standard of the park in line with that of Halton’s other major open spaces such as Victoria Park, Town Park and Runcorn Hill Park and ensure that any future additional features and facilities are in keeping with the nature and character set out in this masterplan.”

Speaking at the meeting where the plans were given the go ahead, Hough Green councillor and executive board member for climate change, Cllr Phil Harris, said: “As climate change portfolio holder I welcome this valuable addition to carbon offsetting, as a ward councillor we’ve been waiting for this for 10 years - so it’s long overdue.”