Improvement works at 40 play areas revealed in £3.5m plan

Holywells Park will receive an estimated £250,000 investment under the plan.

Holywells Park will receive an estimated £250,000 investment under the plan. - Credit: Archant

A five year scheme to invest £3.5m upgrading more than 40 play areas in Ipswich has been confirmed.

Ipswich Borough Council’s executive agreed its 2022-27 action plan which will see £2.5m of capital funds and a further £1m of housing developer contributions be used to improve play area spaces in the council’s parks and open spaces.

The authority is set to invest £1m in 2022/23 alone with ugrades and changes planned for eight of the town's recreation grounds and play areas.

Holywells Park, in Cliff Lane, will receive the largest estimated investment at £250,000. 

Other parks to be upgraded in 2022/23 include:

Alderman Road Recreation Ground, with its looming neighbour: the Ipswich Town Football Club stadium

Alderman Road Recreation Ground, with its looming neighbour: the Ipswich Town Football Club stadium - Credit: Archant

Alderman Road recreation ground (estimated cost of £90,000)
Castle Hill recreation ground, Fircroft Road (£180,000)
Fen Bight Circle (£140,000)
Gippeswyck Park, Ancaster Road (£150,000)
Hawke Road neighbourhood play area (£120,000)
Holywells Park, Cliff Lane (£250,000)
Damesfly Road green A (£30,000)
Damesfly Road green B (£30,000)

In addition, two pocket parks – Girton Way and Talmash Gardens in Birkfield Drive – will be removed because they are not used.

Most Read

A council report said that early stage talks for a second phase of improvements between 2028 and 2032 are under way which would incorporate spaces not currently in need of upgrades.

Councillor Phil Smart said it was about Ipswich Borough Council setting an example. Picture: IBC

Cllr Phil Smart - Credit: Contributed

Speaking at the council’s executive meeting, Labour portfolio holder for environment and climate change, Phil Smart, said: “There are several reasons for this [strategy] – the need to cater for a growing population, the increased awareness for the need for more outdoor activity space, particularly during the recent pandemic, but also to provide health and wellbeing among younger people.”

Cllr Smart said the five-year plan had “something for just about every part of the town” and stressed that “it cannot all be done in the first year”.

He added: “We have got to think around the age and condition of the existing equipment, the age ranges the equipment is designed for and whether there is a decent spread of provision for different ages and some consideration about the neighbourhood it is intended to serve.

“Many parts of the town are characterised by dwellings with smaller gardens or even flats where children have little space to play and interact with others, and that is contrast to some other parts of the town with larger gardens.”

The authority’s report said play areas could have a significant impact on health and wellbeing of youngsters, and the Covid-19 pandemic had highlighted the need for good parks.

Ian Fisher

Ian Fisher accepted the result of the ballot but said the issues he raised needed to be discussed. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Ian Fisher, leader of the opposition Conservative group said he was “fully behind the strategy of upgrading and maintaining some of the equipment we have got,” but urged the council to “base the timings of work around where the provision is least at the current time."

He said: “It does look like in the first year we are spending a lot of time and money in areas that already have above average provision, and some of the areas that have below average provision seem to be scheduled a lot later on in the strategy.”

The remainder of the programme beyond the year ahead are outlined below. All costs are estimates only.

Bourne Park in Ipswich is on the list for the £3.5m improvement plan.

Bourne Park in Ipswich is on the list for the £3.5m improvement plan. - Credit: Archant

2023/24

Bourne Park B pocket park, Stoke Park Drive (£70,000)
Dhobi Place, Bramford Road (£50,000)
Newbury Road recreation ground (£100,000)
Sherrington Road recreation ground (£90,000)
Stonelode Park, Hawthorn Drive (£100,000)
Whitehouse Park, Lovetofts Drive (£180,000)

Murray Park has been listed in the improvement plan for 2024/25.

Murray Park has been listed in the improvement plan for 2024/25. - Credit: Archant

2024/25

Chantry A, Hadleigh Road (£250,000)
Chantry B, London Road (£20,000)
Dumbarton Road recreation ground, phase two (£50,000)
Ellenbrook Road open space (£70,000)
Havergate Road play area (£50,000)
Heatherhayes, Belstead Road (£50,000)
Maryon Road play area (£40,000)
Murray Park (£180,000)
Sallows Close play area (£60,000)

Dumbarton Road Recreation Ground rules.

Dumbarton Road Recreation Ground pictured in 2015. - Credit: Archant 2015

2025/26

Bramford Lane open space (£170,000)
Breydon Way pocket park (£30,000)
Halifax Road play area (£150,000)
Rapier Street play area (£30,000)
Webb Street play area (£50,000)
Whitton recreation ground, Shakespeare Road (£70,000)

2026/27

Chesterton Close A, Cambridge Drive (£50,000)
Cranborne Chase pocket park (£35,000)
Downing Close pocket park (£35,000)
Elderberry Road play area (£50,000)
Fulham Way pocket park (£35,000)
Lambeth Close pocket park (£30,000)
Monmouth Close pocket park (£30,000)
Shetland Close play area (£40,000)
Stoke Bridge skatepark (£70,000)
Sycamores Alvis pocket park, Lovetofts Drive (£35,000)
Sycamores Bentley pocket park, Lovetofts Drive (£35,000)
Sycamores Lagonda, Lovetofts Drive (£50,000)
Sycamores Morgan pocket park, Lovetofts Drive (£35,000)
Tower Mill B pocket park, Bramford Road (£35,000)