Gareth Wilson

Liberal Democrat Campaigner for Haddenham & Aldreth Learn more

Play Park in Haddenham

Over 200 children and their parents and grandparents were present when Baroness Ros Scott opened Haddenham’s Playpark on Thursday. She thanked WREN, Awards for All and Haddenham Parish Council for funding the £100,000 for the new Playpark. She thanked everyone who had participated in the surveys and consultations. She thanked the Robert Arkenstall School children for their beautiful hand painted bunting and the Parish Council and in particular Cllr Gareth Wilson for leading this successful project. After she had cut the ribbon the children enthusiastically joined in with playing on the new equipment and enjoying the picnic.

Gareth and David painting the swing

New Play Equipment with Outdoor Gym Equipment and Refurbishment at Haddenham Recreation Ground


Cllr Gareth Wilson, Cllr David Lyon, Nicky Butterworth (a local enthusiastic parent), and Alan Mittins (volunteer) offered to help with the consultation getting questionnaires out to parents and children in Haddenham and Aldreth.  We made sure that all the children at the playgroups and the junior school took home a questionnaire.  We had 73 replies from children and parents

We then organised a presentation by six shortlisted companies and we sent an invitation to every house in Haddenham and Aldreth.  Over 60 people came and they completed a questionnaire to help decide the best overall scheme and the best bits of equipment.  These were used to calculate preferences for individual pieces of equipment and different layouts.

There was a clear winner from more than 60 questionnaires returned and the Parish Council has asked Kompan to provisionally become our preferred supplier.  They then furnished revised plans to take account of the comments made during the consultation process.

Cllr Julie Parr and Cllr Gareth Wilson then visited the headmaster of the Robert Arkenstall School (our local primary school) and he agreed to get further opinions from the children there.  Two of the senior pupils organised a questionnaire and 75 children took part in this survey.

Cllr Julie Parr and Cllr Gareth Wilson then met with the Haddenham youth club organiser to get the youth club input.  They have organised a petition to make sure that outdoor gym equipment would be included.

We have been maintaining the play equipment and have replaced parts of the swings and an area of the protective matting under some of the equipment.  We have had to remove the small roundabout as it had become dangerous.  The protective surface is mainly Wickstead rubber tiles and these now have quite large gaps and could be a trip hazard.  We intend to keep the items that are still sound and to refurbish them and renew the protective flooring cover.  However, some items are past repairing and new equipment that is more exciting is required.

The proposals for “outdoor gym” equipment, is designed to encourage general fitness in all ages.  They can be used by the organised sports teams, slimming clubs, youth groups and parents in addition to the casual user.  The Slimming club and Youth club meet weekly in the nearby Recreation Pavilion.

It will not be necessary to drive to Ely to use gym equipment.  This would reduce traffic the consequent carbon footprint.  It might well encourage the use of other village facilities and shops. Refurbishing some of our existing play equipment will mean that we can get better value for the project as a whole and not waste our swings and slide that has been inspected and is still in good condition.

  Private gyms are expensive and therefore unaffordable for the youngsters, elderly and casual users we hope to attract.

Many parents and grandparents bring their children to the play area and the gym equipment nearby would allow them to keep fit while watching their children.

The refurbishment work is required to bring the whole site up to a high standard and replacing old and damaged seating and fencing with new gates to prevent dogs entering and to provide proper security for small children.

 When the play equipment project is completed, there will be activities for every age group.  Some of the equipment will be aimed at very young children and toddlers.  Slightly older children will be encouraged to try the more adventurous equipment.  Those less active will be able to play in the imaginary castle or whatever else they could imagine it to be.  Those who like climbing will be catered for.  In addition, the equipment for the older children will be much more exiting and require more skills than the old-fashioned and rather dull stuff we have now.  Teenagers will enjoy the zip wire and the outdoor gym equipment.  Our local sports teams will be able to use the gym equipment prior to matches or during training.  This will also be used by our youth club and the slimming world classes in the summer.  We hope that parents and grandparents will use the gym equipment when they bring their children to play and we have sited it so that it can be used while giving a good view of the play area.  Some of the play equipment has been designed to be able to be used by those who have a disability and most can be used by several children at once so they can play together.