Hatherleigh play park revamped

Saturday 6th August 2022 6:00 am
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Pictured left to right, enjoying the new play park equipment at Hatherleigh’s Island Park are Lexi Lewis, five, Katy Lewis, nine (back), Sophie King, nine, and William King, five. Picture: Donna Lewis. ()

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SCHOOL’S out and children in Hatherleigh are enjoying using the newly revamped Island Park playpark – which now has equipment for tots and older children on the same site.

A total of £25,000 has been invested in the park, with a funding push led by local councillors and parents Donna Lewis and Adam Hill.

A National Lottery grant of £10,000 was combined with £10,000 from Hatherleigh Town Council and a further £5,000 from Hatherleigh’s Moor Management Committee.

This has paid for both replacing play equipment for older children and bringing new toddler equipment into the playpark. Previously this was sited beside the community centre, making life more difficult for parents of mixed aged children as they couldn’t be in two places at once.

Donna, herself a mother of seven, said: ‘The Island Park was in disrepair and a lot of it had been condemned by the Health and Safety people and they weren’t usable anymore and we had to replace them.

‘We did a consultation with the community. It isn’t finished by any means. The first stage was to bridge the gap between the toddler park and the Island Par k which was for older children.

‘We have introduced this big bit of equipment that all ages can go on – the 14-year-olds can climb on the roof and the younger children can also use it, so it is something everyone can use.’

The equipment includes new swings, a climbing wall, a big slide, a fireman’s pole, a bridge and towers.

‘We wanted to get it done before the summer holidays and the guys who came out to put it in were so fast, the whole thing went up in just seven days. Hatherleigh mayor Clare Tyson has issued a plea to everyone to treat the newly revamped park with respect, after a few issues with littering and graffiti.

She stressed that she did not want to stop teenagers congregating there of an evening – just to pick up after themselves and not cause damage.

This followed an incident in which cones were moved in the evening that loose surfacing had been put down under some of the equipment.

‘It is a park for all the community and we hope everybody who uses it keeps it tidy and looks after it, for everybody else,’ she said.

‘We know young people will hang out in the area which is great, to meet their friends and play music, but we just ask them to to tidy up after themselves, if they make a mess to clear up.

She said the revamp had been a boon as it had previously been looking ‘tired’ and so they had asked the community what they would like in its place.

‘The play park had been there for ages but we did a consultation last year and people asked for equipment for different age groups.

‘Previously, the toddler equipment had been at the community centre, so if people asked for different age groups, so if a parent has a toddler and a ten-year-old they can both play in the same place.’

She added: ‘We’ve topped up the bark under some of the equipment. The next move is to start fundraising for a new zipwire.’

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