THE newly-named Ashley Cross Green in Poole has a regal heritage.

Officially opening the park, refurbished with £360,000 of developers’ contributions, Poole Mayor, Cllr Graham Wilson related its royal history.

In 1890 Parkstone Park was opened by the Prince of Wales – later King Edward VII – who had just performed a similar ceremony at nearby Poole Park.

The open space was bought from Lady Wimborne for a princely sum of £1,200 and it cost the council £560 to lay it out as a park. Three years later there was a need to station a fire engine in the area and the council considered the park.

“There was a hue and cry from the local residents at the thought of losing their public open space, that was much loved in Parkstone,” said Cllr Wilson.

The council relented and the fire engine was housed at the municipal buildings instead.

Well over 100 years later the park has new wide paths and a play area, an authentic Victorian fountain, petanque pitch, performance space and much else.

Local residents Thomas Sherrell, nine, and his younger brother Jacob, six, held the ribbon for the mayor to snip and officially declare the park open.

“The fountain is the best bit,” said Thomas. “I like the fish on the top splashing out the water.” Jacob agreed, with the play area next favourite.

“It’s lovely,” said mum Sally and dad Mark. “The performance area will be nice, especially if they put a Christmas tree on there.”

Around 70 per cent of 321 residents polled voted for the new name.

Ward councillor Ann Stribley, who was instrumental in getting the money for the revamp, said: “It’s lovely to see it brought back to life again as it’s so well used.”