Warrington got the royal treatment on Thursday 17th May when HRH Queen Elizabeth II officially opened the Park and Orford Jubilee Neighbourhood Hub. The 50 acre site has been transformed with a £30 million investment from a number of sources to provide the Northwest of England with a real physical legacy in 2012. Duncan Wood-Allum was delighted to be invited as a guest of Warrington Borough Council to attend the ceremony. He met up with collegues from the Council including Lesley Brewin, Service Manager Community and Third Sector partnerships pictured below and Duncan Richardson Orford Park Project Manager and Strategic Commissioner – in SLC’s eyes ‘the Hero of Orford’ – who has guided the project over the last 10 years.

After the Queen and Prince Phillip left, the guests had an exclusive tour of the facility which is opening to the public on Monday 21 May. One of the key features that impressed was the Community Library which is sited at the very front of the building.  The huge range of facilities within this three storey building are impressive in this ultimate one stop neighbourhood hub.

The facility boasts health, community, learning, sport and leisure facilities all under one roof. The pools looked particularly inviting. Architect Rocco Piliero, who Duncan introduced to the project has done a superb job to design a functional yet dramatic building.

One unique feature of Orford Jubilee Park is the commercial link with Decathlon which is sited adjacent to the community facility fronting onto the A46. The Council struck a deal which creates a real synergy for the site and access to low cost sports equipment for local people. The park has benefitted from investment in play sports and infrastructure to create a nirvana of health and wellbeing in a space that was once described as ‘hoodie heaven’. Today it was filled with local schoolchildren  – who played a key part in the design of many features of the development through a superbly managed consultation programme over several years.

Duncan reflected on his visit saying  “It was hugely satisfying to see the result of everyone’s hard work come to fruition and for the opening of the facility to be delivered in such a stylish way to celebrate the Jubilee. At the heart of this project are the people of Orford, who have been waiting a long time for their moment to come.

“This is not just a physical regeneration project, it heralds the dawn of a social and economic regeneration of what is one of the Northwest’s most deprived wards. It was a real privilege leading the consulting support on this project at a crucial stage in its development working closely with the Council, NWDA and Sport England who championed the scheme as a community sports hub and both contributed £3 million+.

“I was supported by a great team from Capita Symonds at the time, who supported the scheme from feasibility to delivery – over a period of six years.

“Tonight we’ll be raising a glass to Duncan Richardson, Lesley Brewin, Jan Souness and Yvonne Bottomley who played a key role  along with the whole team at Warrington. We have a feeling the Orford story has only just begun.”

If you would like to find out more give us a call on 01444 487740 or drop by the Orford Park Website http://orfordpark.warrington.gov.uk/