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This steeply sloping, grass site in the Norfolk town of North Walsham is surrounded on all sides by housing and has areas of mature trees and scrub. I was commissioned by North Norfolk District Council to provide design, specifications, procurement advice and project management. The budget was around £60,000, funded by the Government Playbuilder Programme and local Housing Associations.

 Local consultation was undertaken by the Council and helped to inform the final design. The overall design concept was to enhance the parkland feel of the site and use large species trees to achieve a stronger organisation of spaces which are of general interest and which provide different play opportunities in keeping with the overall character of the site.

The objectives for the design were:

  1. Provide a wide range of play opportunities, including suitably challenging ones, for the target age range (8-13) and others if possible

  2. Reflect the results of local consultation in the overall design and play opportunities created

  3. Use manufactured play equipment and other design features to enhance the attractiveness and ‘parkland’ feel of the site

  4. Use the existing vegetation and topography to provide play opportunities where possible

  5. Improve pedestrian and wheelchair access to the site

  6. Ensure active play areas are at least 10 metres from residential property boundaries

The final scheme features a large turfed mound and ditches at it’s centre with an aerial cableway off one end of this. A multiplay unit is located in a crescent of existing trees. Other play equipment, football and basketball nets also feature. There are Log slices for stepping stones and seating etc. A new formal avenue of Limes and Red Horse Chestnut Trees was also planted.  The scheme was completed in May 2010.

Old School Gardener

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