Ipswich Council wanted to demolish the existing play area and create a brand new bright and colourful attraction which appealed to young children and paid tribute to the local area. The existing play area remained open until the new site was ready so that children always had somewhere to play, after which time the old play area was removed.
With over 65 features accommodating more than 85 users at any one time, the new play area design boasts a transport theme, inspired by nearby transport links such as the railway station, the River Orwell and the local road network.
Having undertaken a thorough site survey and having given due consideration to all requirements within the brief, the design included play equipment and surfacing to create a much-needed flagship play facility for the local community and a maintenance-free facility for the Council.
Taking inspiration from the local railway line, the road that runs parallel to the park and nearby river, we created different themed zones within the playground. Interactive games and friendly characters were built into the design of the flooring to link the spaces, maximise all play opportunities and create a bright and colourful playscape that encourages creative, social and imaginative play across the playground.
Play units were selected that are exciting, stimulating, and challenging for all children, of all abilities, from toddler through to junior age with continuous surfacing ensuring the whole play area it is fully accessible and inclusive.
Boat Climber forms the centre piece of the first zone, with ten boat features and sailing themed activities including binoculars, a steering wheel, wave panels and sails. Wilbur Whale springie joins the setting alongside 3D features such as a shark’s head. Colourful floor graphics and educational play features form part of the wet pour surfacing design, encouraging children to use their imaginations.
Across the play area, Buggie, Bike springies, Fergus 4×4 and an inclusive play roundabout continue the transport theme. This area also features bright floor markings around the perimeter to encourage children to ride a bike safely whilst following the highway code.
The land and sea areas of the play area are divided by railway line floor graphics, on which sits the ‘Sutcliffe Express’ train which leads to a Mini Town ticket booth for children to act out their very own railway adventures.
The overall area is designed with clear visibility throughout the play area, with separate seating and quiet zones included to allow for social interaction whilst not playing and for parents and guardians to supervise the children as they play.
Lisa Stannard from Ipswich Council said:
“From our desire for a bright and exciting new play area that was connected to our local area, Sutcliffe Play has created a fantastic travel themed play space mirroring our local transport links. We’re sure the playground will become a real destination for children and their families to enjoy together for many years to come”.