Prospect Park playground set to move from location where tree fell as plans submitted by council

Plans have been submitted by the council to create a new playground in Prospect Park, moving from the current play area where a tree fell two years ago and replacing the current equipment.

The play equipment, which is reaching the end of its life, will be replaced with accessible equipment.

In addition to the play area plans, proposals for an indoor and outdoor activity centre at the Prospect Park pavilion were submitted this week.

READ MORE: Prospect Park centre plans submitted including minigolf

Why is the playground being moved?

The existing play area includes play equipment, run-around space and picnic tables and is next to the tennis courts.

Reading Borough Council (RBC) says the current play equipment has reached the end of its life and the current surface and access points are not suitable for children with mobility issues.

In 2019 a healthy mature oak tree fell in the play area due to the ground underneath being eroded by an underground spring. The remaining mature oak was reduced as a precaution.

Existing location of Prospect Park playground and the planned new location

Existing location of Prospect Park playground and the planned new location

Following this fall, the council decided to investigate a more suitable location for a new play area.

The new location has been chosen due to:

  • Its proximity to the pavilion, car park, toilets and the new planned activity centre
  • Ease of access from tarmac paths
  • Good ground conditions and no mature trees at risk
  • Lack of impact of sports and other activities in the park
  • Lack of impact on views onto Mansion House

According to the council, much of the rest of the park is used, at least for part of the year, for football, car boot sales, fun fairs, or temporary events car parking; the preferred new location is not ever used for any of these functions.

RBC also says the new location is further from busy roads and easy to find.

Park users, local residents and Reading’s Accessible Play Task and Finish Group will be consulted on the type of equipment they want to see.

When is the new playground likely to be constructed?

Once the new children’s playground location has been agreed, the scheme will then be offered for tender to specialist playground supplier companies.

The council will seek designs that are accessible to children of all abilities.

The successful tender designs will then go through a consultation process that will include the public and the Access and Disability Working Group.

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Subject to planning approval, procurement of materials and consultation, the council says it is likely the works will start on site in March 2022.

The current play area will remain open for public use till the new play area is open for use.

The plan is to then remove the old play area and return the area back to being informal grass park land.