New £250K play park to be built in Harpenden

Designs for the new play park at Rothamsted in Harpenden.

Designs for the new play park at Rothamsted in Harpenden. - Credit: PARC

A new £250,000 children’s playground at Rothamsted Park in Harpenden will be built this summer.

The existing play area will be closed after the May half-term with works scheduled to be completed in late July.

The new play park will be built on the current site and the existing play equipment, which was installed around 40 years ago and had reached the end of its life will be dismantled.

The play park will extend into the grass area between the hedges, creating a larger space with more equipment, divided into different age group zones to cater to a range of needs.

Specialist firm Proludic was awarded the contract following a competitive tender led by Harpenden Town Council (HTC).

The new attraction will include dozens of features including a fenced toddler zone with 150-plus play experiences; swings and other play equipment accessible to those with disabilities; imaginative, sensory and educational play in the Fantastic Forest; and a variety of swings, slides and climbing equipment to challenge all ages and abilities.

New surfacing will make the play area suitable for year-round use. Picnic benches and additional seating have been incorporated into the design to encourage friends and family to come together and enjoy a longer stay.

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PARC was set up to campaign for the facility and raised more than £110,000 of funds - a record for playparks for in the area. HTC has long supported the redevelopment and had agreed to £150,000 of funding, subject to ownership of Rothamsted Park.

HTC secured ownership from St Albans district council on April 30 and this transfer has unlocked the final funding to allow the project to go ahead. The town council is also planning significant financial investments and biodiversity enhancements elsewhere in the park.

Chair of PARC Matt Stephens said: "I am hugely impressed by the new play park, which will be an amazing new community asset and bring great fun and joy to thousands of our residents and visitors for years to come.

"The opening of the playground is the culmination of several years of campaigning and fundraising and I thank all those who were involved with that, especially my fellow PARC members, who have given so much time and effort.

"A special note should also go to Harpenden Trust for their significant investment and to the many residents who gave generously to the ‘Buy-a-brick' scheme that will be seen on the walkway into the new play park."

Harpenden Town Mayor Cllr Paul Cousin said: "Rothamsted Park is at the heart of our local community and much loved by residents and visitors alike.

"The PARC team have driven this project forward for some time and have led the way in raising funds, developing ideas and agreeing on the final design. The town council is delighted to be able to develop the play area within just a few months of taking legal ownership of the park. I am sure that this interactive play area, full of exciting and engaging features that I'm sure will be well used."

Lisa Scriven, also from PARC, said: "We listened to what children and parents wanted from the very start of this project and we hope that they love what will be delivered.

"Our desire for inclusive, fun play were at the heart of the design. All of us at PARC are thrilled that we can deliver this fabulous new play park to our residents as we come out of lockdown and we hope it will bring much enjoyment over the summer months and for many years to come."

PARC, in partnership with HTC, plan to hold a launch event and more information will be available once the completion date is confirmed.