Reading Council reveals the winning design for new flagship play area at Prospect Park
- £530,000 investment to provide exciting new equipment
- Work on the new play area will begin in Autumn 2022
Reading Council can today announce the winning design for its new half-a-million pound playground in Prospect Park.
Following community consultation, and feedback from the Council’s Access Disability Group, the design from HAGS has been selected as the winner with nearly 55% of the overall vote.
The winning design will create an exciting play area that will allow children to be challenged physically, as well as letting their creativity flourish. The design provides a range of facilities to cater for children of all ages and abilities by offering a variety of challenge levels. The location and surfaces of the new play area have been chosen to ensure the best accessibility for families using pushchairs or mobility aids.
The new playground at Prospect Park forms part of the Council’s overall £1 million investment in new playgrounds and playground equipment across Reading for children and families to enjoy.
The new play area will include
- Themed zones, including quiet play areas and activity panels.
- Roundabouts, swings and a zipwire.
- Two large climbing towers with a tunnel slide and access ramp incorporated into the unit.
- Ground-level roundabout, braille panels, lower-level inclusive play net, accessible see-saw, tactile panels, ground-level games, and a large accessible springer.
The new play area will be designed to allow much better access to and around the play area and will be as inclusive as possible – aiming to challenge, excite and inspire as well as encourage children of all abilities to play together.
As part of the work there are plans to create a pedestrian access path from the car park to the play area, with a new pedestrian crossing.
Cllr Adele Barnett-Ward, Reading’s Lead Councillor for Leisure and Culture, said: “I want to thank everyone who participated in this consultation. The winning design offers a fantastic range of great play equipment with something for children of all ages and abilities.
“This £530,000 investment reflects the importance of Prospect Park to Reading: it is one of the town’s destination parks and improving play facilities and access is a key priority for the Council. Work will begin in the autumn and complete in time for the school holidays next year."
This project is just one aspect of the enhancement and investment being made within Prospect Park, including a £500k multi-use activity centre in part of the pavilion building. The mini-golf at the centre opened in June, with the other facilities – including indoor Sky Tykes low ropes for young children and a café - opening later this summer.
Work on the new play area will start in the autumn this year and the play area will be open for the summer holidays in 2023.
Once the new play area is open the second phase will be to remove the existing play area and reinstate the area back to informal grass parkland.
Cllr Barnett-Ward added: “The existing play area is still open and will remain so until the new playground is ready. Families are already enjoying our newly-opened Reading-themed mini-golf course, and our family-friendly adventure hub, The Ranger Station, is due to open at Prospect Park Pavilion very soon. The Ranger Station will offer a low ropes activity for younger children and a café with an accessible toilet and Changing Places facility, making Prospect Park the perfect destination for a family day out this summer!”
Find out more about the Ranger Station and mini-golf here: www.reading.gov.uk/leisure/active-reading
Notes to editors
Notes to editors
Relocating Prospect Park Play Area
Prospect Park’s current play equipment has reached the end of its life. Additionally, the current safety surface and access points are not suitable for children with mobility issues.
In 2019 a healthy mature oak tree fell in the play area due to the ground underneath being eroded by an underground spring. The remaining mature oak was reduced as a precaution.
We decided to investigate a more suitable location for a new play area as part of Reading Borough Council’s playground improvement programme and to seek funding to carry out the improvements.
We carefully assessed a number of locations at Prospect Park and the proposed new location was chosen due to:
- Close proximity to the existing pavilion, car park and toilets
- Proximity to proposed new Play service facilities;
- Ease of access from tarmac paths;
- Good ground conditions and no mature trees at risk;
- Not impacting on sports and other activities in the park;
- Not impacting on the visual sightlines of the Mansion House.