Five playgrounds for Anglian Water

Sutcliffe Play has worked closely with Anglian Water to install five playgrounds in recent years. The projects, totalling £276,000 are part of the company’s strategy to increase footfall to their visitor areas. They also wanted to create environments both at their visitor centres and within communities where children develop physical and social skills through outdoor play.

The most recent playgrounds include the Alton Water Visitor Centre, which is set in 400 acres of Suffolk’s picturesque countryside. Sutcliffe Play installed its brand new playground just a stone’s throw away from the site’s water sports facility and family caravan park. Sutcliffe Play’s timber based range ‘Orchard’ was installed to complement the park’s natural woodland surroundings.

Anglian Water wanted local residents of the local area to be involved as much as possible with the consultation process, and asked the community what type of equipment they’d like to see in the playground. The focal point of the new play area includes Sutcliffe Play’s ‘Twin Peaks’ unit, challenging juniors to engage in physical play and develop their climbing and balancing skills.

The second play area installed recently is Riviera Drive in Southend-on-Sea. The project started as a result of essential underground maintenance work undertaken by Anglian Water. The existing park was taken away so new water pipes could be laid underground providing Anglian Water with a great opportunity to enhance the existing site to benefit the local residents.

Riviera Drive’s new play equipment includes two central structures. The first is a Toddlerzone Boat Climber, a multi-level play boat designed for younger children to encourage social interaction. The second unit is Sutcliffe Play’s Two in One Climber which creates endless play opportunities for both toddler and junior children.

Sutcliffe Play also installed a playground for Anglian Water in Fern Park, Spalding alongside two more visitor sites in 2016 – Rutland Water and Grafham Water.

Rutland Water Visitor Centre is set in 4200 acres of open countryside and offers outdoor activities for all the family. Anglian Water Services wanted an exciting new play area to be located outside the Rutland Water visitor centre, which would blend into the natural wooded setting. The play area was to be a key attraction, fundamental in increasing foot traffic and visitor numbers to the site, giving families a reason to visit and an incentive to stay longer.

Sutcliffe Play was selected to design and install the new playground following an extensive design and build tender process.

A variety of traditional and more adventurous play equipment from Sutcliffe Play’s Orchard range was installed to blend with the natural surroundings of Rutland Water. Safer eco bonded rubber shred surfacing replaced the old loose fill bark which was expensive to keep maintained.

The final design caters for children of all ages and abilities with low level play activities for younger children, including a four seater seesaw and Orchard Twin Peaks unit. The unit, which features two low platforms connected by a rope bridge, has wooden posts that create a mountainous feel with a number of ways to climb or descend for added play value.

More adventurous play equipment, suitable for older children completed the play area design, including the Orchard Timber Tangle, which requires balance, agility and full concentration to navigate quickly. Three single ropes create a small tightrope, with the bottom net that can become a social seating area.

Grafham Water Visitor Centre is set in 1500 acres of countryside and is ideal for family days out and sporting activities, with 10 miles of cycle track around the waterline. The play area was to be a key attraction, fundamental in increasing foot traffic and visitor numbers to the site, giving families a reason to visit and an incentive to stay longer.

Anglian Water Services requested Sand Play to form the basis of the play area. The final design included a Sandwork multi-play unit, that encourages interactive and social play, and sand diggers giving children of all ages the freedom to excavate and create in the sand. Talk tubes were positioned at opposite sides of the play area enabling further opportunities for children to socialise, even hearing each other whisper from 20m away.

Incorporating inclusive play facilities was key for Grafham Water, as a local attraction which prides itself on disability access and the available facilities. The Sandworks equipment was tailored with specially designed ramp access to ensure able bodied children and those with disabilities could play together. The bespoke Sandworks unit also features a pulley system and chutes to transport the sand.