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Victoria Recreation Ground, Stockton-on-Tees

Client: Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council


Cost: £135,000


Date: August 2023


Genre: Inclusive, Local Authority

Non-stop thrills in Thornaby!

The playground on Victoria Recreation Ground in Thornaby, Stockton-on-Tees required a major overhaul to broaden its appeal and make the very best use of its generous surface area. We were delighted that our submission to update the site was successful with the council, and excited to work with them to deliver a much-deserved new lease of life to this play space.

We began by conducting a thorough site survey, and finalising a design which gave due consideration to every requirement within the brief. The process of transforming the space took on a number of stages, demonstrating our great versatility – firstly, our work was required to fit inside the fenced layout of the existing site, and we also needed to plan for the removal of several pieces of existing equipment which were no longer fit for purpose, as well as implement a thorough resurfacing across large sections of the space. Finally, we planned to introduce a large array of some of our most varied play equipment to excite young visitors, including those with a wide range of disabilities.

A Splash of Colour

Our resurfacing utilised striking wetpour surfacing, with many engaging graphics to fire children’s imaginations, including a splash shape, colourful flowers, stones, hopscotch bubbles, a salamander and a rabbit. 3D wetpour shapes, including a sun and compass, further boosted the site’s visual appeal as well as its interactivity, and we also utilised the existing tarmac surfacing by adding thermoplastic markings, including a number dragon, snakes and ladders, and an A-Z snake, providing opportunities for educational and social play.

Atop this eye-catching surfacing, the completed play space now offers a fantastic array of some of our most exciting play equipment, realising the site’s huge potential and providing over 81 play features to more than 58 young visitors:

A World of Fun

The site’s inclusivity to children of all abilities is immediately clear to see with the colourful Scramble and Slide, our most popular inclusive play unit, which offers 10 play features including a drag ramp with climbing nodes and soft steel-cored ropes to boost accessibility. With a large 1.4m wide deck at its centre, as well as a 1.2m high slide, the unit also features bright colours to differentiate its various sections for visually impaired children.

The unit is complemented by a range of other specially designed inclusive equipment. Our Inclusive Roundabout with seat and scooter features a wide central space which is able to incorporate a wheelchair as well as carers, allowing all to enjoy the spinning motion together. Up to 4 users can utilise the roundabout’s seat or deck-mounted ‘scooter’ element to propel it around. Meanwhile, an Inclusive 4-Way Seesaw is specifically constructed to accommodate parents and carers as well as children of many ability levels, with generous handles offering a secure grip. Finally, our Inclusive Springie unit includes a large saddle seat and a high back rail, allowing children with different access requirements to enjoy the springing sensation.

Alongside this vast range of inclusive equipment, another striking feature is the site’s appeal across the age ranges. Victoria Recreation Ground is the first play space to feature our Playzone Two Tower unit, which offers 7 exciting play features to visitors up to the age of 14. The younger section is comprised of a ladder and slide, while a more challenging area for older children features a pull-up ramp, vertical net and a pole climb. Meanwhile, catering to younger visitors, our colourful Villa Minitown unit provides physical, imaginative, sensory and social play opportunities to up to 13 younger users aged 2 to 5, including a pogo climber, stainless steel slide, five play panels, and curved steps.

Finally, the new equipment offers a host of timeless play experiences that no playground should be without: a classic play staple, the swings, are well-represented with our 2.4m high frame as well as a mixture of 2 bumper seats and 2 cradle seats, offering greater choice for visitors. Meanwhile bouncing fun is also present with our inground Trampoline, and children can enjoy balancing sensations with our Seesaw Springie and Small Metal Seesaw. The former provides an exhilarating, fun balancing ride to two visitors with easy grip handles and secure footholds, whilst the latter accommodates two children and enables adults to sit or stand with them to aid the balancing.

Creative multi-sensory play is also well represented, with our Sound Flower and Dice Daisy spinner panels. The first is full of internal ball bearings for an audio effect when spun, and features an eye-catching black on white swirl design for a mind-blowing optical illusion, while the second spinner includes a 1 to 6 dice design, bringing numerical fun and complementing the numbered floor graphics. Finally, spinning in a more literal sense is provided in a pair of exciting options, with our Space Trainer providing a dynamic rotator for juniors and teens, and our Hula rotator, based around a suspended hoop, able to be used alone or by multiple users up to age 14.

Delivering for All

Tony Raine, Environment and Green Spaces Officer for Stockton-on-Tees Council, said:

‘Sutcliffe Play produced a fantastic scheme at Thornaby’s Victoria Recreation Ground. They worked to deliver a design as close to the brief as possible, but also took onboard the community’s needs, making sure the finished product was inclusive whilst still providing great play value. They were accommodating when changes were suggested, and kept us informed of progress in the factory and throughout the install phase on site. The team kept the site safe and secure, and worked efficiently to get the installation completed on time. The refurbishment has been a great success, and the site is once again popular and well used on a daily basis!’

This expansive site tested our team to produce an exciting design packed with fun, functionality and variety, and we are thrilled to have met the challenge. The completed play space perfectly showcases all of the key elements which mark us out as a leading play designer and manufacturer: inclusive equipment which helps children with disabilities to enjoy the thrill of a fulfilling play experience, a broad offering of play activities which caters to toddlers, teens, and everyone in between, and a design which delivers all of the classic playground staples. We’re proud of our hard work to maximise the appeal of this play space, and delighted that it now thrills children from Thornaby and beyond.

Playground Equipment:

Scramble and Slide

Scramble and Slide

Inclusive Roundabout

Inclusive Scooter Wheelchair Roundabout

Inclusive 4-Way Seesaw

Four Way Seesaw

Two Tower

Two Tower

Villa Minitown

Villa

Inground Trampoline

Small Trampoline

2.4m Four Seat Swing

2.4m Four Seat Swing

Inclusive Springie

Inclusive Springie

Seesaw Springie

Seesaw Springie

Small Metal Seesaw

Small Metal Seesaw

Sound Flower

Sound Flower

Dice Daisy

Dice Daisy

Space Trainer Rotator

Space Trainer Rotator

Hula Rotator

Hula Rotator

 

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