New farmyard-themed play area opens in Ipswich

Henry Hunt with mum Polly Hunt. Mayor Jane Riley opens the new play area at Alexandra park, Ipswich

Henry Hunt with mum Polly Hunt at Alexandra park - Credit: Charlotte Bond

A new farmyard-themed playground has opened for young children in Ipswich, inspired by the farming history of the land, as part of a wave of park renovations.

Plans for Alexandra Park were revealed in the New Year, an inclusive play area for children aged two to 12, complete with a tractor and haybarn.

Henry Hunt with mum Polly Hunt. Mayor Jane Riley opens the new play area at Alexandra park, Ipswich

Henry Hunt with mum Polly Hunt at Alexandra park - Credit: Charlotte Bond

Councillor Adam Rae. Mayor Jane Riley opens the new play area at Alexandra park, Ipswich

Councillor Adam Rae at Alexandra park, Ipswich - Credit: Charlotte Bond

Councillor Phil Smart, portfolio holder for parks at Ipswich Borough Council, said the renovation of so many town parks was prompted by the number of homes in Ipswich in council tax band A or B — properties likely to have only a small outdoors space or no garden at all.

"We are thrilled to be able to open another new play area in Ipswich for children and families to enjoy," he said.

"With all the restrictions in place from the pandemic it does highlight the access to green spaces people have.

Phil Smart. Mayor Jane Riley opens the new play area at Alexandra park, Ipswich

Portfolio holder Phil Smart at Alexandra park, Ipswich - Credit: Charlotte Bond

Mayor Jane Riley opens the new play area at Alexandra park, Ipswich

Mayor Jane Riley opens the new play area at Alexandra park, Ipswich - Credit: Charlotte Bond

"Statistics in the past show Ipswich has the highest ratio of parks per population of any town or city in the UK which is something we are very proud of and are happy to invest in."

The 'farmyard' theme was inspired by the history of the site which was once agricultural land many years ago — now in the heart of Ipswich.

Mr Smart admitted the toilets at the park were in a "sorry state" but the council has refurbished them with a fresh coat of paint and new lighting.

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The new play area — which opened today — has an impact absorbent surface to improve safety and features graphics to encourage imaginative play, swings, seesaws and springers, as well as a sensory and quiet play section.

An electric point has also been installed to prevent engine idling from traditional ice-cream vans.

Mayor Jane Riley opens the new play area at Alexandra park, Ipswich Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Mayor Jane Riley opens the new play area at Alexandra park, Ipswich - Credit: Charlotte Bond

Mayor of Ipswich, councillor Jane Riley, added: “Not everyone has access to outdoor space at home, which is why we are lucky in Ipswich to have so many parks and open spaces for families to visit.

“This play area will help give a new lease of life to the park and provide children with a vibrant space to take part in outdoor play.

"We cannot wait to see them get stuck in and explore the farmyard.”

Mayor Jane Riley opens the new play area at Alexandra park, Ipswich

Mayor Jane Riley opens the new play area at Alexandra park, Ipswich - Credit: Charlotte Bond

Other parks in Ipswich to benefit from the renovation project over the past year include; Christchurch Park, Bourne Park, Maple Park and St Augustine's Recreation Ground.

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