Mill Meadows, Henley-on-Thames

Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire

Following the installation of the new Toddler Play Area at Mill Meadow, Henley-on-Thames, KOMPAN representative Ray Parker spoke with Councilor Stefan Gawrysiak

Why did this project get your support?
Mill Meadows is a very popular community space in Henley with a popular play area for the older children but a toddler playground that had become very run down over the years and was in need of a major refurbishment. Our aim was to provide the best possible playground for Henley to encourage more visitors to the town and to make if fully accessible for all abilities whilst concentrating on the younger age range. It was important to us that the surfacing should provide play activities in its own right and should make the facility accessible all year round.

Is Play important in the community and why?
Henley is renowned for sport with over 800 children playing football and rugby alone each weekend so to provide a play area to encourage the future sports stars to play together was important to us. Play is an opportunity for communities to get together and for children from different backgrounds and communities to meet and interact together. We wanted the best for Henley that would still be used and enjoyed 20 years from now, so something new and innovative was appealing. The Mill Meadows location attracts hundreds of visitors every week and is the main community space, therefore a good play area was vital.

How important was it to involve the community?
This was a vital part of the project in order to give the public what they wanted and to give them a sense of ownership of the facility. From the early stages we consulted with the local community which involved on-line surveys, publications in the local newspapers and face to face consultation events in the market square and on the site of the play area. The feeback from these events lead to the playground brief which was then given to 6 different play companies, these were then shortlisted to 2 and a final company was selected following presentations and site visits.

What feedback have you had so far about the play area?
All very positive - "Awesome" "Stunning" and "Wonderful" where just some of the words used.

It has also been commented on how safe the area feels now. The smart technology has also been well received and has provided a great addition to the Mill Meadows area. The range of equipment for the toddler age and varied activities has also been commented on.

What support is needed in getting projects like this off the ground?
Firstly to establish a need and to research information. To have a long term vision of what it is you want to achieve over the next 20 years. To gain support from the community and to form a positive working party to drive things forward.

Other comments?
It has been a pleasure working with both Ray and KOMPAN and our trust has been rewarded.

The product quality is fantastic and the project was delivered on time and within budget.

 

 

Summary

Installed: 2012

Age Range: 2 - 8 years old

Product Range: Hans Christian Anderson, Corocord

Surfacing: Wetpour