Newground landscape services were appointed in August 2016 to produce designs for the new play area. Over a period of months, we worked with Craven District Council (CDC) and Newground to carry out an extensive community consultation period to shape and alter the design to ensure it reflected local needs and desires. CDC received 122 consultation responses, NewGround and FOAP captured further thoughts and feeling during a public event at Craven swimming pool. The result is a design for an inclusive 4500m2 play space that both inspires and provides challenge for a range of users from young children to older teenagers. Reflecting what people have said, they would like to have a full range of play equipment from Climb to Swing and Spin, to Natural Wood and Rock, to Water and Sand and a woodland play space feature in the design.
Throughout the design process the following objectives emerged:
- To create a distinctive play space unique to Skipton reflecting the historic setting of Aireville Park and the character of the town itself, through incorporating historic features such as ridge & furrow into play features, retaining and designing play around historic trees and using Skipton Castle’s turrets as inspiration for (locally sourced) stone walls to form an entrance to the play area.
- Combine play equipment and a mixture of ground surfaces to create 12 interconnected play zones containing up to 35 different pieces of play equipment.
- Allow for free movement around and between the play zones with a central winding pathway through the play space that will be accessible for all in all weathers.
- In addition to play equipment create an area for natural free play such as den building, whilst also providing a space for outdoor education including forest school sessions and other community events.
- Provide seating areas and picnic facilities throughout the play space so that it also acts as a social venue and meeting place for families, parents and carers from all parts of the community to gather and interact.
- We want to foster community ownership through the creation of an accessible facility that is free for all, close to where people live and is available all year round.
Now the challenge begins with fundraising so we can continue to turn Aireville Park in to the community facility that Skipton needs and deserves!