Others splash the cash, so will Leighton be less congested this summer?

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Hope is on the horizon that Leighton’s popular splash park may not cause as much town centre congestion when warmer temperatures return this summer.

In 2016, with the splash park gaining rave reviews online, parents were increasingly coming from far and wide with their offspring to try out the much-loved Parson’s Close Recreation Ground facility.

But the snowballing popularity, especially on the hottest days, also meant motorists were struggling to keep their cool with lengthy queues into town centre car parks.

One LBO reader in August: “People in shops are talking about the parking problems in and around the town. The town centre car parks are filling up early with day trippers so no room for shoppers. Coachloads are being bussed in from MK to use the splash park, out of towners are coming over to use it and, as a consequence, people in Leighton can’t get into the town because car parks and streets are full of visitors’ vehicles.”

However the flood of visitors may become more of a trickle in 2017, with the news that two splash parks are being developed in Dunstable and Milton Keynes.

Dunstable Town Clerk David Ashlee confirmed this week that the splash park for Bennett Memorial Recreation Ground is on course for Mid May opening.

Meanwhile the Parks Trust has announced a £2m revamp of Willen Lake, with a splash park part of the investment and due to be open in time for the summer.

Leighton-Linslade Town Clerk Mark Saccoccio said: “The Splash and Play has been a remarkable success for the parish and yes, for the benefit of other parishes and their residents, additional facilities are welcomed.

“We are fortunate in having quality open spaces as well as the historic town centre that boasts numerous independent retailers as well as an excellent selection of cafes and restaurants which will continue to attract visitors.

“As with any successful town, there are times when car parking can be at a premium. Central Beds Council who are responsible for town centre car parking are aware of this and are seeking ways to address this as well as encouraging other ways of accessing the town other than by car.”

A Central Beds Council parking study has previously confirmed that Leighton’s car parks are operating close to bursting point and the town council is continuing to press them for a way to ease the problem.