A new £1.3m ‘sponge park’ which will absorb rainwater and reduce the risk of flooding has opened in east Manchester.

Residents have been able to shape the design of the West Gorton Community Park in the heart of their community.

The park is split into three distinct but connected spaces including a woodland area with a wetland meadow, a picnic area and a play area with an outdoor climbing wall.

It will also have a ‘rain garden’ consisting of shallow trenches filled with water-loving plants which soak up excess rainwater spilling in from nearby roads.

The park will also have several play and picnic areas

The meadow area will have orchard trees, picnic tables, edible hedgerows and a stepping stone trail, while the garden includes space for events, community growing and seating.

Coun Luthfur Rahman, executive member for skills, culture and leisure at Manchester council, opened the park at a ceremony attended by residents and local ward members last week.

He said: “The creation of a brand new park is always an exciting occasion and, having been carefully designed in consultation with the local community, I’ve no doubt that the sponge park will be cherished by everyone who lives in West Gorton.”

West Gorton Community Park forms the final part of the area’s regeneration which has seen the council invest £100m by building new homes and community facilities.

Rain gardens filled with water-loving plants will soak up extra rainwater and help reduce the risks of local flooding

The council’s partners in the venture are the Guinness Partnership Ltd and the University of Manchester.

Funding for the park came from the European Commission as part of the GrowGreen scheme, which supports projects that come up with new ways of tackling climate change.

The University of Manchester will monitor and evaluate the impact of the park on the community and the neighbourhood as part of the GrowGreen project.

Coun Angeliki Stogia, executive member for environment, planning and transport, said: “The sponge park will serve as a wonderful model for how green spaces can help us to tackle the effects of climate change.

“Its intelligent design will reduce the risk of local flooding, as well as helping create a more attractive, healthier environment for West Gorton residents to enjoy.”