MP gets the ball rolling for Chelmsford park residents

John Whittingdale MP digs in with Berkeleyparks MD David Curson and park manager Gloria Bradford

ESSEX MP John Whittingdale to roll the first official ball on a new boules pitch at Chelmsford’s Temple Grove residential park.

The member for Maldon was invited to declare open the facility which the park hopes will provide both social and keep-fit benefits for occupiers of its 162 park homes.

The classic French game – also known as petanque – is proving increasingly popular on its UK residential parks according to Berkeleyparks, owners of Temple Grove.

The 60-year-old family-run business operates over 50 residential parks across England and Wales, providing affordable accommodation for people in or near retirement.

Mr Whittingdale was welcomed tor David Curson and Temple Grove’s manager Gloria Bradford.

Residents enjoy tranquil rural surroundings on the Essex park

As well as trying his hand at a boules challenge, the MP also planted a commemorative maple tree near the pitch which will provide shade for players in the years to come.

During his tour of the park, Mr Whittingdale was shown part of a new development of park homes which provide ground level access and other wheelchair-friendly features.

The homes, said Mr Curson, are constructed from a new environmentally sympathetic composite material which provides low-maintenance benefits and a long life-span.

“We were delighted that Mr Whittingdale was able to come and open our new boules pitch and see for himself the type of lifestyles on offer at Temple Grove,” said Mr Curson.

“Our aim is to foster a mutually supportive atmosphere and a sense of neighbourliness.

“Most crucially, this means that nobody need feel alone and isolated in retirement, and for those who wish it there are always plenty of social opportunities available.

“The boules pitches we have already installed on other parks are being very well used, and I’m sure that Temple Grove residents will soon be getting into the swing of things!” he added.

There is more information about the group and its parks at

The MP put his boule skills to the test on the new pitch which has been created for the park’s residents