As part of our major investment across Reading’s parks, Prospect Park is priority for improvements to play equipment, including the provision of equipment for children with disabilities.
We are in the process of relocate the existing playground and creating a brand new play area with free accessible equipment for children of all abilities.
This project is just one aspect of the enhancement and investment being made within Prospect Park, including the major investment in The Ranger Station – where we have created a new multi-use activity centre in part of the pavilion building.
Work started on the new play area in November 2022, and the aim is for the play area will be open for the summer holidays in 2023.
Prospect Park’s current play equipment has reached the end of its life. Additionally, the current safety surface and access points are not suitable for children with mobility issues.
During 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.
We decided to investigate a more suitable location for a new play area as part of Reading Borough Council’s playground improvement programme and to seek funding to carry out the improvements.
We carefully assessed a number of locations at Prospect Park and the proposed new location was chosen due to:
We will relocate the existing play area to the grass area opposite the pavilion car park:
Following community consultation, and feedback from the Council’s Access Disability Group, the design from HAGS has been selected as the winner with nearly 55% of the overall vote.
The winning design will create an exciting play area that will allow children to be challenged physically, as well as letting their creativity flourish. The design provides a range of facilities to cater for children of all ages and abilities by offering a variety of challenge levels. The location and surfaces of the new play area have been chosen to ensure the best accessibility for families using pushchairs or mobility aids.
The new play area will include
The new play area will be designed to allow much better access to and around the play area and will be as inclusive as possible – aiming to challenge, excite and inspire as well as encourage children of all abilities to play together.
As part of the work there are plans to create a pedestrian access path from the car park to the play area, with a new pedestrian crossing.
Work will start in the autumn this year and the play area will be open for the summer holidays in 2023.
Once the new play area is open the second phase will be to remove the existing play area and reinstate the area back to informal grass parkland.