THE Lord Mayor of Bradford officially opened the newly refurbished play area at Lister Park yesterday.

Work to demolish the ageing play equipment at the Manningham park and replace it with vastly improved facilities has been taking place for the past several months.

The project, which cost £650,000, was completed by contractors Kompan Ltd over the weekend, and hundreds of children have already gone to enjoy the new equipment.

Yesterday morning Mayor Councillor Shabir Hussain, who took on the chains of office last month, was joined by Councillors, Council staff and children from neighbouring schools to officially declare the facility open.

And Cllr Hussain, himself a Manningham Councillor, also took the chance to try out some of the new equipment.

Lister Park is the first park to benefit from a £6.4 million boost to play areas throughout the District that was first announced in 2019.

Its play area, which had previously not been upgraded in two decades, was chosen due to it being the most popular facility of its type in the District, and a vital space for families living in the inner city area.

Work to parks in Shipley and Keighley to coincide with lockdown lifting

Before the refurbishment there were regularly queues for swings and slides at the play area.

Much of the new play equipment has been inspired by artwork inside Cartwright Hall, a Council run art gallery in the Grade II listed park.

The centrepiece of the new play area is a nine metre tall “Giants Play Tower” that looms over the other equipment and includes climbing facilities and slides.

Other play equipment at the park includes a sensory path, dome climber, sand and water play, agility trail, swings, zip wires and a “music zone” with playable instruments.

There is also a new picnic area.

Cllr Sarah Ferriby, Executive Member for Healthy People and Places said: “It’s wonderful that the work has been completed and that the play area is now open for youngsters to enjoy the summer.

“Our parks are so important for families to enjoy open spaces and fresh air, particularly for those who live in built-up areas where green spaces are few and far between.

“Lister Park has always been one of Bradford’s major attractions and this new investment will keep it as one of the best in the country and a serial Green Flag award winner.

“It has cost a lot of money and hard work for our staff and contractors but to see the children enjoying themselves with a happy smile on their faces makes it all worthwhile.”