Date of installation: 2011
Queen's Park Crewe - Victorian Park Refurbishment
The new playground at Queen's Park in Crewe is part of a comprehensive 5 year, £6.5 million refurbishment programme of the ageing Victorian Park, which was one of the first urban parks ever landscaped in the Borough. The park opened in 1888 and was a gift to the people of Crewe, from the London & North Western Railway Company. When founded, the park did not have a play area but one was introduced in the 1960's.
Neither the positioning nor the materials used for the old play area were in keeping with the surroundings of the park so the new play area has been relocated to a more discreet position. A renovated Victorian shelter forms a focal historical gateway to the new play area.
Mature oak trees provide shade over the oval shaped play area which provides play for both 8-16 year olds and for younger children and features modern play equipment as well as natural elements of subtle mounds, boulders and logs. A woodland colour pallete and green surfacing was chosen to blend with the park's environment. It was important for the play area to be inclusive for all abilities and there is a roundabout with wheelchair access, pathways and a sensory area.
Purpose of Scheme
The new scheme offers a play area for both younger and older children of all abilities in a relocated play site that blends with the natural environment of the 45 acre Victorian Park.
Older children have been provided with equipment that is exciting and will challenge their physical abilities, while younger children have an interactive play area. The two play zones are linked by a free-play green space.
Outdoor gym equipment has been installed under a large oak tree near the bowling green which provides a separate shaded area for park users to exercise. Sinuous paths edged with stone connect all play zones to the main footpath network in the park.
Concerns over the state of the old play area at monthly public consultation meetings resulted in the decision to move the creation of the new play area forward to the 1st phase of re-development.
It was important to retain as much of the heritage of the Victorian Park, but to make it more user-friendly and appealing to visitors. With the old 1960's fenced play area deemed to be in the wrong location, the new softly oval shaped unfenced play area has been moved to a more suitable site near to a mature wooded area which offers shade and space.
An existing Victorian shelter has been restored to provide a shaded seating area and forms a focal point gateway to the new play area as well as reminding visitors of the park's history.
Play equipment for older children includes:
• Pendulum group swing with basket seat
• ReActions' Quasar unit
• Hurricane swing
• Jumping Tarantula
• Inclusive Moonwalker
• Re-furbishment of original Wicksteed multi-rider rocking horse
• 6m high Buccaneer Towers climbing netscape
Play equipment for younger children includes:
Sensory Zone featuring:
• Musical play panels
• Pair of talking flowers
• Reflective hemisphere
• Undulating log boundary
• Sensory planting
Other younger play equipment includes:
• 6' high twin double arch swing with inclusive special needs' and cradle seats
• Flying saucer group swinger
• Tom Thumb Nursery Rhyme multi-play unit
• Teacup Twister
• Balance Log
• Clatter Bridge
• Wet pour play mounds
• Tree stump stepping posts
Reason for using various design components:
• To ensure wheelchair users are able to use the play scheme, a Revoluation roundabout with wheelchair access was included
• Wide natural stone paths allow for year round use of wheelchairs and pushchairs.
• The special needs swing seat allows less able children to use the 6' swings
• The sensory area provides opportunities for all children to experience different touch, sights and sounds.
• The woodland colour scheme of the play equipment blends with the existing natural environment and the wet pour safety surfacing has been laid in different green tones to add subtle interest.
• Again, to fit into the natural surroundings, wooden log and informal boulder seating was provided, as well as Safety Grass matting and turf for surfacing around the play area
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