WALLINGFORD’S new water park will open for the summer season tomorrow after council leaders splashed out £180,000.

With Oxfordshire basking in the sunshine, the open air pool and fountains at Riverside Park, on the River Thames, will be a popular place to cool off.

Work started earlier this year and the water feature includes fountains operated by pressure pads, next to the heated open air pool.

The fountains have replaced an ageing paddling pool, and a café kiosk will serve ice creams, snacks and drinks.

Earlier this month, Thames Water said use of the fountains would not be restricted as part of the hosepipe ban.

But South Oxfordshire District Council leader Ann Ducker said they would only be running from 1pm to 5pm daily, to save water.

Mrs Ducker said: “The restrictions will be under constant review but the council does want to make a contribution because of the current water shortage.”

When plans for the fountains were announced last year, some town councillors, including Betty Atkins, opposed the scheme, but they changed their minds after visiting fountains at Abbey Meadows in Abingdon.

SODC’s cabinet member for leisure Bill Service said: “We had hoped to get the fountains finished earlier in the year but the work was delayed by the wet weather in April. It was so wet that the contractors could not get the rubber matting down.”

Nexus is running the pool on behalf of SODC, and Nexus manager Carey James said: “Hopefully, the opening of the outdoor pool will trigger the start of the summer. But whatever the weather, the pool is heated.”

The pool and fountains will stay open until September 2.

  • Water features in Abingdon and Wantage will also open for the summer tomorrow.

The interactive fountains in Abbey Meadow, Abingdon, and Manor Road Memorial Park, Wantage, will be operating from 1pm to 5pm daily.

The Abbey Meadow Outdoor Pool will also reopen tomorrow, at 10am.