Wednesday 25th October 2017- By Rachel Adams

MEMORIES were made for hundreds of youngsters at Southampton’s newest play-park.

Families watched as local hero and Saints legend Francis Benali cut the ribbon to the £500,000 project on The Common.

Inspired by nature and including water features, a zip wire and two slides, the project was designed by Surrey based landscape architects Davies White.

Speaking in front of the hordes of children eager to get climbing, splashing, and sliding Franny said:

“As a boy that was born and raised in this city I remember playing up here on the Common.

“This is a facility that is going to get year round use. I’m looking forward to coming up here, I’m here with my family today, my young nephew is here.

“I’m looking forward to having a little go on the zip wire maybe if the kids will let me on.

“It’s a great facility, a huge amount of work has gone into putting this on and making it happen.

“So a huge amount of congratulations go to everybody involved.”

City parks chief Councillor Jacqui Rayment said she was “delighted” at the turn-out and said:

“So many people have come down today and just to see it from concept to delivery is fantastic.

“Southampton City Council and the Common team will be maintaining it but what we ask people to do is respect it and take their rubbish home with them”.

The park will be open 24 hours a day all year round – but Cllr Rayment said the park would be on the city’s schedule and monitored regularly.

She added:

“We did loads of work with disabled young people and schools and the Common Forum to find out what they want.

“It’s not your traditional play area, it’s a woodland feature on a common surrounded by trees with lots of educational elements.”

Also there to have a go on the slides was city leisure boss Cllr Satvir Kaur who said:
“I remember being here when I was a child in the old paddling pool and I think everyone would agree it was quite ageing. It needed a bit of a revamp”.