Date of installation: 2012
Avondale Park Playscape
Avondale Park opened in 1892, a former area of slurry and excavations that formed part of the notorious Potteries & Piggeries district with brick kilns, fields dug up for potter clay and pigs everywhere!
The new playground installation is an integral part of the Council's Parks Strategy - a ten year improvement programme that commenced in 2005. The old play area was in a poor general condition and in urgent need of replacing. Local consultation was carried out prior to the winning design for the new play scheme being chosen from six play company tenders. This popular park now combines the new children's play area with the formal gardens, a small wildlife area and a modern floodlit all-weather sports pitch.
The new play area caters for children up to 14 years of age and includes a separate designated area for toddlers. The latest electronic spider-shaped PlayAlive takes centre stage with mounds, logs, wood tunnels, boulders and a large sand pit offering a natural dimension to play and complementing the new, more structured, play equipment all of which provide opportunities for a wide range of enjoyable play experiences for all ages and abilities!
Purpose of Scheme
Avondale Park Gardens serves the 5,000 plus local residents surrounding this delightful urban green space in North Kensington. The old play area, because of its age, was in poor general condition, with unsuitable surfacing in the toddler play area.
The new play area now caters for a wider age range from toddlers through to the early teens, each having their own designated play areas which are discernible through low log fencing and colourful play surfacing designs.
It was important for the new play scheme to be challenging, exciting, fun and inclusive wherever possible.
As well as providing play equipment, it was essential that the scheme should to be sympathetic to the surrounding green space and so natural play needed to be part of the overall scheme with ground undulations, sand, timber and stone used throughout.
Both the toddler and junior play zones feature Wetpour safety surfacing which is ideal for creating the leafy patterns used and marking out specific areas such as the toddler zone.
Thorough public consultation was carried out with a survey posted to over 5,000 residents. Two public consultation sessions were held at the park in July and August 2010 - when the Council spoke to over 150 park users.
Worksheets were provided to children in years three, four and five at Avondale Park Primary School and the Council's consultation officer met with children and teachers to discuss and input their thoughts and ideas for the new playground.
A number of suggestions raised from the public consultation were also implemented in the final play area design including the installation of additional seating near to the play area which was previously lacking.
It was also considered that the park needed a theme or something to make it unique and so the new futuristic PlayAlive from Wicksteed was installed. The giant spider-shaped PlayAlive is interlaced with web-like climbing ropes with a central computer console that allows interactive electronic games, both individual and team, to be played via satellites around the structure.
Reason for using various design components:
• Inclusivity was a key factor in the choice of equipment and the majority of equipment is fully accessible for less able children.
• Many natural play elements have been incorporated into the overall play scheme with the use of sand, boulders, logs, earth mounds and planting.
• Benches have been positioned around both play zones to enable parents to oversee their children including a raised circular bench central to the playground giving panoramic views of the entire playscape.
• As the park is used extensively for exercising dogs it was felt necessary to fence the toddler area to prevent dogs potentially unnerving youngsters
• The PlayAlive play equipment has given the older play area the ‘wow' factor and makes the park's playground truly exceptional.
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