Bessemer Park Play Builders Programme Joanne Crumplin, Groundwork East Durham, attended the meeting to give a presentation on the Bessemer Park Playbuilder Programme.
The Board was informed that Durham County Council had secured 2 years Playbuilder funding in 2008 to support a number of play projects across the County. Bessemer Park had been selected as one of the projects to be completed in Year 1.
It was explained that Playbuilder aimed to create innovative and stimulating play environments through landscaping and exciting play equipment, with an emphasis on natural play to encourage a child’s imagination. It was specifically aimed at creating play spaces for 8-13 years, however it also tried to be inclusive. Groundwork had been invited by the Council to assist in delivering the projects across the County, including the project in Bessemer Park.
The initial consultation had involved an artist working with children from North Park Primary, Spennymoor Youth Centre and Parent and Carers group that met at Spennymoor Leisure Centre. The artist had worked with the children to create models of their dream play area. The information had been interpreted to give an idea of the type of items the children would like to see in Bessemer Park. A plan had then been prepared, highlighting all of the types of activities that the young people had asked for. It included work over and above that achievable as part of Playbuilder, to determine wether further work should be pursued in partnership with the local community.
The Board noted that at a consultation event held to discuss the initial plan, a number of issues had been raised such as anti-social behaviour, drinking on the site, litter, dog fouling and motor bikes. As a result, discussions had been held with partner organisations, including the local Beat Officer and Police Architectural Liaison Officer to look at how the problem could be solved. Using all of the information gathered during the previous consultations, a final design had been produced. It focused specifically on the play element of the site, which had been located towards one end of the Park. The design included an area of boulders, logs and stepping stones that would allow children of other ages to explore. A basket swing had been included in the design, which was a particularly popular request from many of the young people involved in the process. The design also included up to two pieces of fixed play equipment, chosen by young people from North Park Primary and Spennymoor Youth Centre which would be installed subject to costs.
It was pointed out that whilst CCTV had been requested by community members, discussions with the Police Architectural Liaison Officer had revealed that other measures would be more effective. Therefore the final