Verulamium Park set for £250,000 new playground

Cllr Anthony Rowlands at the old playground in Verulamium Park.

Cllr Anthony Rowlands at the old playground in Verulamium Park. - Credit: Archant

The wait is almost over, as work will soon begin on a £250,000 new children’s playground in Verulamium Park.

The attraction will include 30 features and will be divided into zones that reflect the city’s rich history, such as a Roman-style basilica, a mini-amphitheatre, a market street and a main pathway named Watling Street.

Among the features are a multi see-saw, five-way swing, a battering ram group swing, stepping posts, two carousels, Roman-numeral hopscotch and a picnic area.

The play area was designed by specialist firm Kompan which won a competitive tender with work scheduled to start on September 14.

It will be placed on the site of three ageing tennis courts, close to the park’s outdoor gym, mini-golf and beach volleyball courts.

The existing playground, which was installed around 25 years ago and had reached the end of its life, will be dismantled when the new one is completed around mid-November.

This area of the park will then be grassed over and returned to its natural state.

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Community group Verulamium at Play raised more than £60,000 of funds for the project.

Additional funds for the project came from S106 payments given to park owners St Albans district council by property developers, and contributions from the City Neighbourhoods Committee.

Cllr Anthony Rowlands, portfolio holder for leisure, heritage and public realm, said: “I’m delighted that this project has come to fruition after several years of campaigning and fund-raising.

“We were aware for some time that the park was badly in need of a new play area, but the substantial amount of money needed to provide it was not available in our hard-pressed budget.

“Verulamium at Play helped immensely with an impressive local campaign and fund-raising drive. Representatives from the group also joined a panel that chose the final design so that they were heavily involved in the whole process.

“I have studied the plans and have no doubt this will be a very imaginative, interactive play area, packed with exciting and engaging features for children. It will be yet another reason for people to visit and enjoy this flagship park.”

Jessica Chivers from Verulamium at Play said: “Throughout the whole process we’ve been keen to ensure the play area is inclusive and reflects our Roman heritage.

“We think the final design does that and we’re really excited about seeing children laughing, smiling and clambering over the new kit. We hope it’s a big hit!”