EXCITING UPDATE – THE PLAY AREA IS OPEN! (July 2021)
On 24 July 2021, the official opening of the Rothamsted Play Park took place. The new play area has been extremely well received and enjoyed by many over the opening weeks.
Thank you for all of your survey responses. The information received has been useful in reflecting on the work that we have done and how we can best serve the community going forward.
Take a moment to look at some of the fantastic new equipment in the park.
Playpark Action Rothamsted Committee News Release (May 2021)
Playpark Action Rothamsted Committee (PARC) are delighted to announce that 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 new playpark will extend into the grass area between the hedges, creating a larger playpark 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 amazing new attraction will include dozens of new features. Some of the these include a fenced toddler zone with 150+ 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.
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 Alban’s City and District Council on 30 April 2021 and this transfer has unlocked the final funding to allow the project to go ahead.
Chair of PARC Matt Stephens, said: “I am hugely impressed by the new playpark, 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 fund raising 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 playpark.”
Cllr Paul Cousin, Harpenden Town Mayor 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 playpark 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 which is likely to attract a large crowd. More information will be available once the completion date is confirmed.
About the Park and Playground
The playpark is set in the heart of Harpenden’s Rothamsted Park. The original playpark was built more than 30 years ago and the equipment is outdated, in very poor condition and near to the end of life.
The original equipment included both toddler and flat seat swings. A number had been removed due to their poor condition and safety concerns.
The helicopter and train climbing frames still stood in the park. The metal work was stripped of paint and they offered limited play value.
The toddler slides stood alone and highlighted the lack of equipment suitable for the younger age group.
The surfacing was inadequate. The playpark got incredibly muddy and left parts largely out of use in wet weather.
Through extensive consultation with the public and the playpark companies, PARC developed some preliminary designs. These designs were presented to the public to gather more feedback to refine the original brief and insure that we deliver what the community wants.
Harpenden Town Council took ownership of Rothamsted Park in April 2021 and as a part of their investment in the park, agreed to contribute £150 000 to the playpark project. PARC worked closely with Harpenden Town Council through the tender process and the final design was chosen and approved by Council.
Through the commitment of Harpenden Town Council, The Harpenden Trust, local businesses and individuals alike PARC reached the £250 000 fundraising target. The new playpark was delivered in Summer 2021.
Playpark Action Rothamsted Committee Registered charity number 1179147