Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Mill Meadows toddler playground to be updated

THE toddler playground in Henley is in need of refurbishment, according to families who use it.

The town council is planning to update the facility in Mill Meadows and held two public consultations by the Leichlingen Pavilion on Saturday and in Market Place on Wednesday.

Families were shown a display board of designs and asked what features they would like to see added to the playground.

People also filled in a questionnaire about how they use the area, safety issues and how it could be improved.

Mayor Stefan Gawrysiak, who chairs the council’s Mill Meadows sub-committee, said: “The feedback will be put to a small working group which will look at it and then make a decision on the design.”

Councillor Elizabeth Hodgkin, a member of the sub-committee, said: “People want to see something better. The playground is unsafe and not fit for purpose anymore. We’re not saying ‘this is what you are going to have’, we’re asking people what they want.

“We’re trying to find out what the users, not just of the playground but the whole area, want. We’re asking them how they get here, how often they visit, how long they stay for and what do they do when they’re here.”

Children pointed out features on the display boards they liked but Cllr Hodgkin said it was their grandparents who had the strongest views.

She said: “Quite often it’s them who bring the little ones down when they’re looking after them.”

Cllr Hodgkin said a popular choice by children was a water feature. Other ideas that they could tick included boulders, trees, play equipment designed as a castle, ship or train, slides, swings, music equipment and hiding places. Ray Parker, area sales manager for playground supplier Kompan, said: “Grown-ups tend to think about the more practical things like shade, seating and visual aspects but children tend to look at the fun things like equipment. They want to have everything.”

Jasmine Stevenson, who works at Treetops Nursery in Centenary Business Park, said: “It’s a well-loved playground but it just needs updating.”

Dan Stewart, of Queen Street, said: “The play area is very safe and cordoned off but it is quite dated and could do with a revamp.”

His nine-year-old son Charlie, a pupil at Valley Road School, wanted to see climbing nets, big slides, a helter-skelter and a longer zip wire in adjoining adventure playground. He also requested a sandpit for younger children like his three-year-old brother Rory.

Charlie added: “I would like a seating area for the grown-ups so they can sit in the corner and see me.”

• What do you think? Write to: Letters, Henley Standard, Caxton House, 1 Station Road, Henley, RG9 1AD or email letters@henleystandard.co.uk

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