September 2023 update
Debenham Parish Council, Recreation Ground Development
In 2019 a group of parents came to the council asking for better play equipment for their
children. Two years later, the Debenham Play Strategy Document was agreed by the Council.
The document looked at all aspects of play, and the different kinds of play which develop as
children grow and age. It stresses the importance of play and fitness along with the benefits of
outdoor play. There is great emphasis on the social aspects of play and well-being.
The Play Strategy also identifies that across Europe and Asia outdoor gym and fitness areas
are extremely popular in encouraging adults and senior citizens to go outdoors, walk, and do
aerobic and cardio exercises, on the free-to-use equipment, to increase their health, fitness,
general wellbeing, and also to socialize with others.
The Play Strategy Working Group have worked very hard to develop a completely new play and
fitness area on the recreation ground. We ran surveys through the Roundabout Nursery, the
Primary School and the High School, which identified the types of play and fitness equipment
the young people in the village wanted to see at the Recreation Ground. The list included a zip
wire, a new toddler play unit, a large play unit for older children, a log stack, a log swing, an
inclusive basket swing, an inclusive roundabout, a junior fitness rig, a combined inclusive parent
and child swing, picnic tables, a 5 aside pitch, and 2 shelters.
We have teamed up with a local supplier for play equipment who is local, who buys local wood
from sustainable forests, and locally produced steel. Even the powder coating is carried out
locally. To top it all up, they have also donated a £5k trim trail to the village.
We believe this company offers the very best value to our community.
The supplier for the gym and fitness equipment is offering the very latest in design. Their Big
Rig is designed to enable 22 users to exercise at the same time, and there will also be specialist
cardio equipment and an inclusive exercise unit.
The Parish Council has voted unanimously to support the project and has committed £60,000
towards it. We will be working hard to obtain the funding needed to turn this dream into a reality.
The Parish Council approved a play strategy for the village at its February 2021 meeting.
Read the full strategy here. (PDF document)Basically it proposes a new approach to outdoor play provision, with all the existing Play areas remaining, and improved, and a new premier play facility in the woodland vicinity.
The new approach proposes new facilities, more rustic, in their appearance, more adventurous, and more In tune with nature. We propose locally designed by our children, locally built by community volunteers, and materials sourced locally.Proposed Future ProvisionThe following is an assessment of the works necessary to individual Play areas across the village, in order to comply with the strategy.1) Neighbourhood Plan Development Site DEB 3 Ipswich RoadNew play area to be created as the development occurs.2) Neighbourhood Plan Development Site DEB 4 Low RoadNew play area to be created as the new development occurs.3) Lower Gardeners RoadNew replacement facility required. First test of ‘New Approach’.4) The Meadows Play AreaResponsibility of MSDC, no recommendations as it is a relatively new facility.5) Raedwald WayAs 4 above.6) Upper Gardeners RoadReplacement swings, and ‘springy’ animals. New safety surfacing required. Minimal painting of play frames.7) Leisure CentreResponsibility of the Leisure Centre. A new facility requiring no attention.8) Recreation GroundConsolidation of existing equipment, with the creation of new facility, to incorporate new car parking initiative. The addition of new safety surfacing.9) Primary SchoolIf negotiations are successful with the school to open up the play facilities at appropriate and convenient times, then a maintenance programme, with resultant costs, will need to be shared with the school.10) Neighbourhood Plan Development Site DEB 5 Aspall RoadNew facility to be created, with revised car parking and traffic movement measures to accommodate ‘pinch point’ issues adjacent to the school.11) New Premier Play Facility Site. (Yet to be identified, possibly the Woodland area vicinity)The concept of a new Premier Play Facility in the Woodland area, has the benefit of being able to be created in the way that this strategy has promoted. That is, an exciting, challenging, but safe, ’rustic’ type facility, designed by our children, with materials sourced locally, and constructed by our local volunteers and organisations. The new facility can make use of the natural environment, educate the young, and provide another significant stimulus for community cohesion.Furthermore, it is strategically located close to DEB 5 in 10) above. That being the case, it may be possible for developer contributions, in the longer term, towards maintenance and replacement costs.