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Royal Opening of a Peoples Park at Manor Royal
HRH The Duke of Gloucester planted an Oak Tree this afternoon to officially open a new park for the local community at the heart of Manor Royal Business District.
The new People's Park, which links Fleming Way with Manor Royal, boasts a boardwalk, decking area, cycle paths, seating and picnic benches, providing plenty of space to think, work and play. Additional landscaping and a ‘wildlife partnership' means that the ecological value of the site will be enhanced on an ongoing basis.
As Manor Royal was formally named by HRH Princess Elizabeth in 1950, just two years before she ascended the Throne, the Duke of Gloucester's visit maintained the business district's royal connections.
The Duke was welcomed by West Sussex's Lord Lieutenant Mrs Susan Pyper at the Crawter's Brook ‘People's Park' before being introduced to Manor Royal Business Improvement District's (BID) chairman Trevor Williams and executive director Steve Sawyer.
The first cousin to the Queen was then given a tour of the new park where he met its architects and volunteers from both the Sussex Wildlife Trust and the Gatwick Greenspace Partnership. He was also introduced to Ruth Growney of Crawley Borough Council's Let's Face it Team, and to representatives from the Foyer Project in Crawley, which inspires youngsters to make positive changes to their lives.
Children from The Gatwick School cheered as the Duke planted the Oak Tree. He was then presented with a book of pictures of the People's Park drawn by children from the Manor Royal based school.
The Manor Royal Business Improvement District (BID) team has enabled regeneration to take place, aided by a £350,000 Kick Start grant from West Sussex County Council. Those working on Manor Royal Business District and the general public may now use the new park for informal meetings, relaxation and exercise. A new partnership between the BID and Sussex Wildlife Trust also opens up a wealth of volunteering opportunities.
"Improving the attractiveness of Manor Royal as a place to work and a lack of facilities were among the top issues identified by businesses and were therefore included in our Business Plan for action," said Trevor Williams, Chairman of the BID. "We hope that this new outdoor space will engender a sense of wellbeing among those working at Manor Royal Business District as well as provide opportunities for volunteering, outdoor team building activities and cross-company interaction."
Councillor Peter Smith, cabinet member for planning and economic development at Crawley Borough Council, said: "The People's Park is the latest in a long line of improvements to the Manor Royal Business District and I'm delighted to see it open to the public. Green spaces like this are a much needed improvement to the wellbeing of the thousands of people working in the area as well as the wildlife that calls it home, and it is particularly good to see further support for people that wish to travel sustainably by walking and cycling on Manor Royal."
West Sussex County Council's cabinet member for finance, Michael Brown, added: "We are delighted that our grant helped create this wonderful space for Manor Royal. We think the People's Park is an environment that will help people relax and recharge and will prove to be a positive asset for the business district."