State of Play

We have a working group of 5 committee members working on play. The group has begun discussions with the council and Ruth Smyth reports on progress.
The playground – can we use this space better?
We are only at the initial stage, but it could be a very exciting development for the park – all ideas need to be fully scoped out and of course full consultation with park users.  It does feel like we are finally going to get some dramatic improvements to play in the park, for everyone to enjoy.
The council has money set aside for play in the park, and is keen to move ahead.  The easiest option is to update the North side facilities.  As long as we stick within the footprint of the current playground, no planning permission is required.  Hence we agreed to brief Theories (the playground design specialists) to start the design/ consultation stage as soon as possible.  In theory we could be making improvements to that space in Spring 2012. The basic proposal that will be given to Theories to scope out is to update the Victorian space to modern standards – in a similar manner to the recent redevelopment of the play facilities on Hackney Downs.  We discussed having a fenced area with facilities for smaller kids, and an unfenced space with facilities for older kids – the plan is to reuse the best pieces of play equipment, and add in new ones too.  This would all be done within the current foot print of the playground.
MUG has been trying to get the toilet/kiosk used better
for some years

Toilet facilities were mentioned, and I am pleased to report that the men’s toilet lock has been fixed so we expect to see these opened more frequently now.  (We will be monitoring this).  We also stressed to the council our desire to see the kiosk opened – this may still be a pipe dream at this stage, but we will continue to campaign for this.

We also discussed the paddling pool space and made it clear to the council that action must be taken to turn this into a useful space for the park.  The council believes using it for any form of play e.g. water feature or climbing frame will face objections from its nearness to housing.  After much (heated) discussion, we reached a potential agreement that it could be turned into a lovely plaza type space, with seating and space for families etc to congregate.  If we can find funding we may be able to do this as part of the redevelopment of the Casimir Road entrance, dramatically improving this space.  We will keep you updated on this.
Simple play equipment at Well Street Common
We also petitioned hard for play improvements on the South side, as the road makes it dangerous for parents with kids from the South side to use the North side playground.  We proposed 5-6 natural play items, made from wood, e.g. bucket swing, climbing frame, similar to Springfield Park. The council have agreed to scope this out as part of the North side development. We discussed the potential location of the play equipment and suggested possibly near the Orchard, the dog free zone or by the basket ball courts to create a hub of activity.  The proposals once scoped out by Theories would be consulted with the community later this year.  For this development we have 2 potential issues – firstly we need to secure funding, but we believe it is worth agreeing a plan at this stage, and we will continue to lobby for funding.  Secondly any structural changes on the South side require planning inspectorate permission as it’s common land.  This will likely delay any construction on the South side to 2013.
We hope you are as excited as us about bringing some much needed improvements to our park.  This plan is only at the initial stage, we are keen to hear your views, but there will of course be a full consultation process once designs and plans are scoped out by the professionals.

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