Welcome to the first in a series of articles covering the relocation of the current play area at the Boldre Recreation ground. These articles will provide background on the need to relocate the play area, information about the current plans, fundraising and progress as the project is delivered.
Why Do We Need To Relocate The Playground?
The village shop is nearing the end of its lease and this will not be renewed. In order to preserve a key feature of our village, Pilley Community Stores Limited and the Boldre War Memorial Hall have come to an agreement to create a building to house the shop at the site of Boldre Hall. You can view the planning application for the new building here. The new building will need to be sited where the current play area is so it will need to be moved. As the play equipment is owned by the Parish Council, the Boldre War Memorial hall Committee approached Boldre Parish Council and requested their assistance in relocating the play area. The current play area is well used, but the equipment is aging so the Parish Council intends to take this opportunity to replace the current equipment and incorporate it with the existing kick wall and larger swings already present on the recreation ground.
What Has Been Done So Far
The project started by BPC gathering feedback from the community about what was important in a play area back in November 2021. Based on this BPC has worked with 6 different play equipment vendors to evaluate proposals for a new play area with a budget of £50,000 including VAT. Key criteria included:
- Improving access to children of all ages.
- Adding multi-feature elements that allowed children to explore play more creatively.
- Ensuring that the proposals fitted the rural location in terms of design and materials.
This process has included onsite meetings with vendors, working with utilities companies to identify risks, reviewing access to the equipment and how the equipment fits with neighbouring properties. BPC have now made a shortlist of two final vendors and will be displaying these designs at community events to gather feedback.
What Are the Current Plans?
The current plans are to create an enclosed play area that can hold the new play equipment as well as the existing kick wall, cradle swing and pendulum swing. This is shown in the plan below with the proposed area highlighted in purple.
The Play Area will need to be removed in advance of building work starting on the Hall and during construction of the hall, the play area will consist of the kick wall, cradle swing and pendulum swing. There are two main reasons for this:
- Health and Safety Concerns - the new play area is required to be sited near to the hall and it is not possible to safely do this until the contraction of the new hall building is completed.
- Cost considerations - BPC has a limited budget and is unable to fund a temporary play area and then relocate it to its final position. The existing equipment has been inspected and the Council has been informed that it is not possible to safely relocate this to provide a temporary facility.
As part of the planning condition, it is a requirement that the new play area is completed within 6 months of the new shop starting operation. The Council will be working with the Hall Committee to ensure that the play area is installed as soon as possible inside the overall construction schedule whilst meeting the necessary health and safety requirements.
The plans of the two shortlisted vendors are shown below, showing proposed layouts of the equipment and some 3d renderings of some of the equipment. Both vendors have been chosen to provide a range of equipment covering both toddlers and junior up to the age of about 11 years old. The equipment will primarily be constructed of wood to fit in with the rural nature of Boldre Parish.
Over the next few months, the Parish Council will be looking to decide the final vendor and to start fundraising to deliver the project. This will include the following activities.
- Feedback from other councils on vendors
- Site visits to inspect example installations
- Community feedback – Plans to be shown:
- BWMH – 6th May
- Pylewell Fete – 20th June
- Boldre Church Fete – 11th Sept
- Online at www.boldre.org.uk and on Facebook.
- Identify available Grants/Funding Sources
- Apply for funds
We would really like your feedback, so please contact us via the website or come meet us in person at the local fetes. We hope to arrange further opportunities for the community to see the plans and discuss the project in person.
How Can I Help?
The major challenge BPC have is reaching our funding target of £50,000 to deliver the play area. If you know of any sources for grants towards this sort of project we would love to hear from you. If you would like to donate to the project yourself please contact the Clerk to enquire about donation methods. If you have experience of fundraising or successfully obtaining grants we'd also love to hear from you. Please contact us using the website or writing to "Clerk to the Parish, Boldre Parish Council, c/o Pilley Community Shop, Pilley Street, Pilley, Lymington, Hampshire, SO41 5QP".