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Heaton Park set for second play area

Manchester City Council is investing £500,000 to create a second play area for Heaton Park.

The new play area, located in the south of the park, will provide challenging and creative play features in a woodland environment and will incorporate the top five favourite ways to play, as identified through a survey of children and parents carried out last summer.

More than 250 parents and children took part in the survey, either at the park or online via the Heaton Park Facebook page.  The top five activities chosen were exploring and finding, sliding, swinging, jumping and splashing.

Clean City funding has been secured for the project, which is being designed by the award-winning landscape architects Davies White Ltd, with advice from Tim Gill, an independent expert on risk in play, who has previously worked on the Olympic Park in London.  

Designs for the play area are currently being developed.  Features will provisionally include swings, slides, tree houses, a stream and trampolines, plus materials for children to build their own wooden dens.  

Accessible play equipment will be incorporated into the design, to ensure that as wide a range of children as possible can enjoy the facility.  

Following detailed landscape and environmental assessments, the new play facility will be located close to the Boating Lake in the south of the park, close to existing attractions and facilities including the Lakeside Café, rowing boat hire, the park's tram route and a seasonal fairground space.  

Subject to planning permission, the new play area is scheduled to open in spring 2019.  All equipment in the new play area will be independently inspected by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) prior to opening.  

The new play area will complement the park’s existing northern play area, which was fully refurbished in 2016 and is currently the most used facility in Heaton Park.  The northern play area is based around a giant tower slide, with a UFO-theme. 

Executive Member for Schools, Culture and Leisure, Councillor Luthfur Rahman, said: “We know how much children love to spend time in Heaton Park, so we’re investing in a new play area which will become the centre of many a great family day out for years to come.  

“Our survey made it clear that children value play which gives them the chance to be imaginative as well as active, so we're creating a facility which will allow them to explore and be curious about the natural world in a safe setting.

“Playing in the great outdoors helps our children to learn, develop new skills and make new friends, while boosting their physical and mental health.  So it’s important that we provide this new facility, which will be a brilliant addition to the popular attractions on offer within one of the most impressive parks in the UK.”

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