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Wharfemeadows Park, Otley

Client: Otley Disability Advisory Group (ODAG) and Leeds City Council.

Date: May 2003

Genre: Inclusive, Community

Wharfemeadows Inclusive Playground

Design & Build

The market town of Otley had five playgrounds, but none of them offered inclusive play, suitable for children with disabilities. ODAG includes people with a wide range of disabilities and every year they look for a new project which will benefit a different sector of local disabled people. ODAG set about fundraising for a ‘state of the art’ inclusive playground for Otley, through town centre collections and contributions from local senior schools. Further support came from the Leeds branch of the Royal Variety Club and Leeds City Council. However the project had a major problem – an existing paddling pool. Over the last few years the paddling pool had been vandalised and that area of the playground was under-utilised by visiting children. Ever spiralling maintenance costs and changing attitudes to health and safety have made paddling pools in municipal parks a rarity.

But despite all that, when the plans were presented to local people, there were numerous objections to the loss of the pool. A compromise was found by including water play equipment in the plans.


Playground Equipment:

The water play system uses an Archimedes screw to control the flow of water. There’s a dam and a cascade with a basin, trough and water wheel, most of which is at a level that is accessible from a wheelchair. Sitting alongside the water play area is a full range of inclusive play equipment including a slide, an inclined net, a roundabout, a springie plus an inclined drag ramp and a level drag ramp. The project has converted an under-used part of the playground into an accessible inclusive play area open to children of all ages and all abilities.

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