Friends waiting for Whitehall

You may recall back in June that I wrote about the redevelopment of Rugby’s historic Whitehall Rec (Recreation Ground), having been asked along to a Public Consultation Meeting.

Fast forward three months and what started as a passing interest has gone a stage further.

For one, plans for Whitehall Rec have been finalised and the Heritage Lottery Funding bid has gone in (back in August) and it is a case of wait and see.

Finalised plans for Rugby's Whitehall Rec

Finalised plans for Rugby’s Whitehall Rec

Take a look at the plans here – which I think get a good balance between restoring both some of the modern and historic elements and facilities, whilst introducing some additional well-considered aspects all to serve the current and future generations.

Also, as part of the consultation by Nortoft (who are working in conjunction with Rugby Borough Council) and the HLF bid process, there is a requirement to set-up a ‘Friends Of’ group to monitor the use and short to long term future development of the Rec.

For my part, I have initially and tentatively agreed to act as an Interim Chair for the group, to get things off the ground (one other officer has also been appointed as Interim Treasurer, a secretary will come via RBC, with others to be appointed early in the New Year).

Mad? Perhaps, but I don’t think so.

The role is not and won’t be exhaustive (at least that’s what I’m told, and from what I have initially seen) and won’t require a great deal of time and energy (I do after all have the odd one or two other bits I have on the go!). Yet it is something I have decided to pursue at its early stages given it is an interesting project – and one which keeps evolving – in a place and facility I have essentially grown up using as have my children.

Like many Rugbeians, I have my own family history with Whitehall Rec spanning many years; which has covered so much from playing there as a toddler through primary school age to early teens, visits to the Rugby Spring Fair, Rugby Carnival, Firework Displays, and the old Paddling Pool, and now a generation on my own kids from walking age using the park and Water Fountains. There’s even – and rather sadly, a family name on the Memorial Gates from World War II.

So with a fair handle on what has gone before – and the history of the Rec is something I am also researching, to the present day, this passing interest is developing all the time.

For now though, it is a waiting game to see what HLF come back with from the funding bid application before matters can really progress further, a decision of which is expected in early December.

The Friends will keep you posted

* Remember, you can follow me on Twitter – @karlquinney

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