You have until Friday to share your thoughts on play in Kirklees – here is our handy guide to the draft strategy and why you should get involved…
What is this all about?
We’re looking at the way our play areas and open spaces allow everyone to play, so we can plan for the future.
As part of this, we want to know what you think our play areas should be like.
Our current play areas
We currently have 342 play areas, many of which contain manufactured play equipment. Most play equipment is aimed at 4 to 7 year olds.
We’ll look at what we currently have, how good it is and how it can be used for improving play opportunities. We will use all the information available to us to understand who’s using our play areas, what elements they enjoy and what areas will make play more fun. Tell us what matters to you by completing the survey
Did you know…?
Out of 150 local authorities, Kirklees ranks 114 for activity levels (where 150 = most inactive). Being active and playing improves everyone’s mental health and well-being – so anything we can do to improve this has to be a good thing.
We want to…
- Make play areas more accessible so that play is anywhere and is not just limited to designated play areas.
- Make our play areas suitable for a much wider age range or children and young people.
- Provide more play opportunities for older generations and more multi-generational opportunities.
- Encourage wildlife into play spaces, make nature more accessible to provide additional learning opportunities.
- Increase the potential for play areas to form visually attractive environments, which are easily accessible and will become an important part of the Kirklees infrastructure.
- Combine manufactured play equipment with natural play equipment
Did you know…?
So we can improve play areas in Kirklees, some equipment could be changed or removed as part of their redesign. However, no sites will be lost through the Playable Spaces Strategy.
Each play area will be considered individually, which is why your opinions really matter, to find out what you think play areas should look like in the future.
So what is natural and wild play?
Wild play is unstructured outdoor play that encourages exploration, imagination and discovery by getting hands on with nature.
Wild play spaces combine manufactured equipment with more natural elements of play. Playing in nature is important, as it gives children new challenges and allows them to explore their own abilities, and learn about taking risks.
Did you know…?
Research suggests that children feel more comfortable being in the natural environment and in doing so their knowledge about nature increases.
It’s all about saving money – right??
This is not a cost saving exercise. Any money saved will be kept in the parks budget to ensure that we have money to create higher quality sites.
If there are fewer items of manufactured play equipment we’ll need to carry out fewer inspections, and it will reduce maintenance costs. But this means there could be more money overall for parks, money that will then be reinvested in parks and open spaces across the district.
What about safety?
We are working closely with our partners in the police, as well as experts at the university and the local community to make sure our plan for the future encourages people to use the spaces available to them in a positive way that discourages anti-social behaviour.
We feel some sites would benefit from removing some of the hoop-top fencing around the playable spaces, because by removing these boundaries the area for play is bigger and play becomes part of the landscape.
Did you know…?
Where there are real physical barriers to play such as busy roads, we will continue to take these very seriously and give them careful consideration when designing play spaces.
What happens after the consultation?
We expect that the Playable Spaces Strategy will be redrafted and submitted for approval in spring 2018.
If approved, we’ll start talking to local residents about the sites we plan to alter in late summer 2018.
Work could begin on-site in autumn 2018. Overall we think it will take 7 years to roll out this plan fully.
How do I get involved?
Read the draft play strategy
Fill in the online survey about your experiences of play.
Find out more about our parks on the Parks and Green Spaces Facebook page.