18 July 2013

New Level skate park and play area opens July 26

The wraps will come off part of The Level next week, Friday July 26 at 5pm, following the restoration of one of Brighton & Hove's major parks.

The public will have access to the south end of the park, which includes the new skatepark plus the children’s play area, fountains and sensory gardens.  While the renovation is not yet complete, the city council is keen to open the key recreational facilities as soon as possible for the school summer holidays.

When complete the park will be transformed with a package of improvements, including the skatepark and children’s playground, plus 'dancing' fountains, a sensory garden, tables for board games and ping pong, a pétanque terrain, and a new environmentally-friendly cafe, complete with a chalk grassland green roof.

Historic features from the early 1920’s have been restored, including the park pavilions which will now be used to provide community rooms and exhibition spaces. Extensive new planting and landscaping have also been carried out and additional seating provided.

Some parts, such as the new cafe and north lawns will open later in September.  The park’s official Grand Opening Event will take place at the end of September or early October, the date still to be confirmed.  

The restoration project is being carried out by the council with a £2.2m Heritage Lottery Fund and Big Lottery Fund grant.  An Aiming High Grant of £65,000 has also been awarded to help make the park more accessible for all to enjoy.  The skate park also received £150,000 grant funding from Sports England Inspired Facilities and £50,000 from Veolia Environmental Trust.

The playground will include many pieces of equipment suitable for children with disabilities.  New public toilets include wheelchair accessible loos and a Changing Places facility with enough space for disabled people and their carers.  Improvements in lighting, CCTV and the presence of a full-time park manager will help to deter antisocial behaviour.

Local people have been involved in the restoration in a variety of ways. Some have shared their pictures and memories for a history project charting their memories of The Level; others have given their ideas for a new piece of artwork in the park or got involved in a new Communities of the Level Forum; and bricklaying students at City College Brighton and Hove have gained practical experience helping to restore a 19th century stone wall.

There are also lots of opportunities to get involved as a volunteer at the park, helping with activities ranging from gardening, wildlife, education and sport to history and heritage.

Councillor Pete West, chair of the city council's Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee, said: "We are really proud of this fantastic new-look park where local people, visitors, and people working in the area can relax and unwind in the heart of the city.

"Previously The Level was tired, underused and in need of investment and many people simply didn't go there. Now it will have something for everyone, it will be an attractive, vibrant and welcoming area and I think it is one of the best parks for miles around. It is so important for many people who don't have an open space of their own to have a top quality park to enjoy."

For more information visit the city council's website www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/thelevel

Brighton & Hove City Council has received £2.2m from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Big Lottery Fund ‘Parks for People’ grant scheme to restore The Level.

The authority also secured £150,000 from Sport England Inspired Facilities and £50,000 from Veolia Environmental Trust to develop the new skate park.