A NEW skatepark has opened at War Memorial Park in Basingstoke - just in time for the summer.

It comes as three popular parks across the borough have undergone a transformation.

Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council has installed new equipment and circuits including pump tracks, parkour tracks at War Memorial Park, Beggarwood Park and Popley Community Park.

And the park's new look has already gone down well with residents, according to the council, who say they've received positive feedback and the sites are already very busy.

A spokesman for the authority said: "Visitors are advised to follow Covid-19 social distancing guidelines, despite the relaxing of lockdown restrictions, and plan to use the facilities during quieter periods if possible."

War Memorial Park will benefit from four major projects, two of which are now open for use. The old skatepark was knocked down with a brand-new facility built to replace it.

It opened on April 24 and was quickly put to use by skateboarders and bikers.

Next to open at the town centre park will be a parkour area to provide an obstacle course for climbing, running and jumping. This is expected to open during May. The children’s play area is also being improved.

The borough council’s £495,000 improvement scheme at the War Memorial Park is being funded from its capital budget and includes a £45,000 grant from British Cycling.

At Beggarwood Park, the play area has been extended with new equipment, including swings and climbing frames, for children aged up to 12. A pump track is also now open where BMX fans can sharpen their bike skills on the new circuit of rollers, berms and jumps. It can also be used for skateboards, rollerblades, scooters and mountain bikes.

A Wild Zone has replaced Beggarwood’s old timber maze and encourages children to explore the natural world.

The £258,000 improvement scheme, funded from developers’ contributions, also includes new benches, bins, better footpaths and landscaping at the popular neighbourhood facility and Local Nature Reserve.

While at Popley Community Park, children can now enjoy a new play area, with separate zones for toddlers and juniors. A separate teen zone includes a parkour course for running, jumping and climbing over obstacles. There’s also an outdoor fitness circuit for exercise by visitors of all ages.

The park now has new perimeter fencing, seating, improved footpaths, flower and hedge planting and the overflow car park has been resurfaced. The work was carried out by the borough council with £400,000 funding from developers’ contributions.

The improved facilities follow public consultations where local people were invited to give their views on the type of equipment and the improvements they wanted to see installed at all three parks.

Basingstoke and Deane Borough council’s head of environmental services Tom Payne said: “Our officers have worked with local people to provide these fantastic new facilities at War Memorial, Beggarwood and Popley parks for families to enjoy and we are pleased they are open for people to enjoy in the spring and summer months.

“We’re delighted to provide something for people of all ages – from new play parks for children, to exciting circuits for young people and improved landscaping for people to sit and relax in.

“As with any new facilities we do know they will be incredibly popular and we are already seeing lots of people visiting these sites as different elements have opened. It is important that people stay safe and remain aware of social distancing, even as COVID-19 restrictions begin to relax. Guidance on how to stay safe is available on signage and we encourage people to consider returning to use the facilities at a quieter time if they are busy."

Find out more at www.basingstoke.gov.uk/parks.