In the early 1960s, after a period of post-war recovery, the City Council looked to expand the range of facilities in the park in collaboration with private operators.
The first was a zoo which opened in 1962 on the area now known as Zoo Field. It was followed in 1965 by the pitch-and-putt golf course and a new indoor swimming pool which was situated near the present skate park. In 1970, the Mayflower leisure centre opened on the other side of Britannia Way with facilities that included a sports hall and squash courts. Between 1974 and 1975, Plymouth Argyle football club levelled areas to the north of Coronation Avenue to make four football pitches, two for public use and two as the club’s training ground.
These developments and others were controversial. They sparked protests about the loss of green space and led to growing perceptions that the developments had been uncoordinated. In 1980, the Leisure Services Committee commissioned the City Engineer to report on the state of the park and, when produced in 1981, it identified major issues that included car-parking and traffic movements, a lack of landscape character and ongoing vandalism. Some steps were taken to improve matters but it was to be another two decades before these problems started to be tackled in a purposeful way.