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New park play area unveiled

PUBLISHED: 23:11 19 December 2001 | UPDATED: 11:04 03 March 2010

GENERATIONS of children have loved to play in Christchurch Park, Ipswich – but there's no doubt that the current generation of one to 11 year olds are the luckiest as their new play area was finally unveiled.

GENERATIONS of children have loved to play in Christchurch Park, Ipswich – but there's no doubt that the current generation of one to 11 year olds are the luckiest as their new play area was finally unveiled.

Children from St. Margaret's Primary School could hardly believe their luck when they were allowed out of class to be the first youngsters to try out the new playground.

It's 75 per cent larger than the Christchurch Corral which it replaces – and it's got a nautical theme.

Central to the play area is a huge galleon-style piece of equipment which was an instant hit with the eager six and seven-year-olds.

Parents and play experts were consulted while the new area was being designed – they advised officials to increase the number of swings so it has enough to keep the youngsters amused.

The play area has equipment designed to be used by youngsters up to the age of 14 – but it is the three to 11 year olds who will really love it!

The area is surrounded by a wavy metal fence, which gives it a much more open feel than the old corral.

And a link with the past is provided by an old log, which has been on the site for generations and is seen by many as the park's "original" play equipment.

The work has cost £150,000 and has taken several weeks to complete – provoking some irriration among harrassed parents when the area was closed during the October half term.

But the youngsters from St. Margaret's certainly felt the wait had been worthwhile as they tried out the new equipment.

Among their favourites was the loudspeakers which transmitted voices to different parts of the playground, and the "crow's nest" revolving net suspended above the ground.

Safety is central to the new play area, with soft pads and blue-stained woodchips scattered to break the fall of any youngsters who fall off the "galleon."

The only thing the new maritime play area doesn't have – yet – is a name.

Ipswich Council is running a competition for youngsters between three and 14 years old to name it – the prize is an I-Card for a year.

Entry forms are available from Civic Centre and other council offices.

The new play area should cement Christchurch Park's role as the town's premier park – but it isn't the only one that the council is looking at.

"We are aware that several parks and play areas around the town need improvements and we are trying to look at them altogether," said Ipswich council's leisure spokesman John Mowles.

"Many have very good cases for improvement, but we can't do everything at once.

"The council does have some money to spend on community improvements, and we would like to introduce some new play equipment – but it is quite expensive," he added.


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