Draw your swords and prepare for battle as a new castle-themed play unit is set to feature as part of major upgrade works to the main play area at Queen's Park in Heywood.
The transformation work began Monday, 5 October 2020, made possible through section 106 funding will bring the installation of several new pieces of play equipment, including a brand new castle-themed play unit being the focal point.
Queen's Park is one of the region's most famous and best-loved parks, which sits on the site of a former estate that was passed to Queen Victoria after the owner died without leaving a will. It was presented to Heywood by the Queen in 1878 and now features tennis courts; a BMX track; crown green bowling facilities; wetland and wildlife areas and on-site café.
Initial proposed designs for the play area were shared with children at St Luke's primary school, which sits adjacent to Queen's Park. The design by Kompan UK came out on top who specialise in the installation of quality play equipment; alongside Groundwork Landscapes agreed by the council and members.
The wider public also got to have their say on the council's play area strategy; sent out for public consultation earlier this year. Feedback from this has helped shaped plans for all play provision across the borough, with plans in place to update further play areas.
Councillor Neil Emmott, the council's cabinet member for environment, said: "We're delighted that we can undertake these major improvements to the main play area set in this beautiful green flag status park; which sits at the heart of Heywood's community.
"Queen's Park is just one of the ten green flag parks across the borough and we hope these improvements will bring joy to the many families and children who visit the park for years to come."
Plans include many new pieces of play equipment including an inclusive roundabout and musical play pipes for sensory play.
Children will be able to jump for joy on the floor level trampolines and not forgetting the little ones; a brand new separate toddler play area will also be included.
This new equipment has been chosen specifically to encourage imaginative social play and help children to develop sensory and motor skills. With the bulk of the equipment designed to allow more children to play simultaneously – increasing play value and help prevent queuing.
Daniel Crabtree, area sales manager, Kompan UK, said: "We are delighted to be working with Rochdale Borough Council on these fabulous plans, as we bring a long-standing history in high-quality play provision of over 40 years. All our equipment has a focus on child development, while at the same time being great fun."
Some of the favourites will remain such as the large space net in the centre of the play area; the metal multi-play unit; multi-user rocker and the bay of swings. The sand will also stay around the new castle unit, but a wet pour rubber surface will replace the sand under the current space net. There are other surprises planned too in keeping with the knightly theme - watch out for the dragons.
This major draw for Heywood also sits alongside other areas of investment including plans for a new garden area at the front of the Civic Centre.
Working with volunteers from the Skill Mill project, the space will benefit from a number of open trees, plants and landscaping. The gardens will enhance the entrances to the Civic Centre and Phoenix Centre, set alongside the striking benches depicting scenes from the war – providing residents with the perfect place to sit and reflect.
The play area is expected to be closed for around 6 weeks.