Junk adventure playground planned

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A new adventure playground could prove a popular facility for the island’s younger residents.

Douglas Council has approved a proposal to use redundant land at its Ballaughton Nurseries site to create the feature in partnership with the Children’s Centre.

Council leader David Christian said the new playground would be a proper ‘back to basics’ experience for the children.

‘The Children’s Centre gave us a video presentation on it. The area can include things like wooden pallets or even old cars and things for them to build and design and smash to bits again then rebuild,’ he said.

‘It provides a real opportunity for them to learn a variety of different skills. It will be for anyone to use and it will provide a proper rough and tumble experience for them.’

The idea is for the council to fund around £42,000 to pay for preparing the site and putting fencing and a gate around it. The site will be rented at a peppercorn rent of £1 to the Children’s Centre for a seven-year period. Annual running costs of £25,000 and responsibility for manning the attraction will then be borne by the Children’s Centre. with no further liability for the council.

A disused staff portable building, which belonged to the nurseries, is also to be donated to the project.

‘It’s a good location because the Ballaughton Nurseries site is well tucked away from view, which is good because these playgrounds are not always the best looking facilities,’ he said.

‘The land is not needed now for the nurseries so it will be like an extension to the Ballaughton Park. I think the committee are to be applauded for the scheme and it is something that the Children’s Centre has proposed and the council’s executive committee has embraced.’

The scheme was devised to address a lack of play areas in the Hills ward and was favoured by the council’s executive committee and approved at a full council meeting.

An alternative proposal, which was not accepted, suggested extending the adjacent Ballaughton Park into the redundant land at the nursery.

This scheme would have reqired the area to be levelled off and grassed over. Discussion would then have taken place with the local community to decide on the best long term use of the extra space.

The total cost of this alternative was £19,000 but this excluded any cost associated with the future development of the site.

Children’s adventure playgrounds are generally manned by playworkers and when the idea was first put into practice, early examples were sometimes called bomb site adventure playgrounds or junk playgrounds allowing creative rather than regimented play.

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