£50,000 revamp for play area designed by 200 town children

Winter's Lane

The site for the new play area at Winter's Lane - Credit: Google Maps

An Ottery St Mary play area designed by more than 200 local children is getting a £50,000 revamp, with new equipment including a ground level trampoline and a 12 metre zip wire.

The Winter’s Lane play area, owned by East Devon District Council, will also be getting a 2.4-metre tall rope climbing pyramid, a slide and climbing area, picnic bench, a toddler swing and a toddler and parent swing.

It is hoped the park will be open ready for the spring.

At the beginning of the project, pupils at Ottery St Mary Primary School and The King’s School, aged five to 14, were asked how they would like £50,000 to be spent on the play area. Parents and carers of those aged under five were also contacted through Facebook to find out what was popular with their younger children.

The district council then tasked several play area companies to send in their designs for how they would best spend the £50,000, based on what Ottery’s children and young people had asked for.

Children at The King’s School, as well as other children and young people in Ottery, were then sent the designs and asked to vote for their favourite.

The winning design, made by Sutcliffe Play, was most popular for children aged older than five. However, to appeal to as many children and families as possible, the designs include a new climbing frame specifically targeted at toddlers and other new items such as the parent/toddler swing, and the ground level trampoline.

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The supplier is also adding a play puzzle panel as a result of some of the comments from the consultation, which will add even more value for the under-fives.

The winning company will now manufacture the equipment, which is all made to order, and install it.

An Ottery St Mary Town Council spokesperson said: “Winter’s Lane play park is the first major project for the town council in what promises to be a great year for the youth of Ottery. With further work planned for the Land of Canaan park and exciting developments at the Ottery Hub, the town council looks forward to consulting with the young people of Ottery St Mary to help us shape the facilities and support that they deserve.”

Councillor Sarah Jackson, EDDC’s portfolio holder for democracy, transparency and communications, added: “It is a triumph for both the town and district councils, working in partnership, to have consulted so broadly despite the challenges posed by the pandemic. The consultation has enabled £50,000 of investment to be put to best use, ensuring that the new play facilities appeal to as many local children as possible.

“I want to thank the local schools for their support, and I look forward to the spring when local families can enjoy the newly upgraded play equipment.” 

Cllr Geoff Pratt, one of the EDDC’s ward members for Ottery St Mary, said: “It is good to see Section 106 monies, received from developers, used to provide much needed new play equipment for the Winter’s Lane Play Area.”