Help us to improve the children’s play area

Now that Fair Green Neighbourhood Association have  become the legal caretakers of Fair Green, one of our first actions is to improve the play area, as almost all the existing equipment is beyond repair and must be removed.

We are applying for a grant from the National Lottery, and need your letters of support to improve our chances of winning the grant. Do you like what we have planned? Is it an improvement? Would you use it? Do you think it is important to the community?

What an opportunity! We will redesign the play area to meet the needs of all ages and abilities, keeping it low and unobtrusive, and using natural elements to give children a chance to use their imaginations. We will improve the car park and give better access to pushchairs and for people with disabilities.

Rachel has come up with a wonderful design, which is sketched below.

The drawing is not exactly to scale, but the new design takes up no more space than the existing play area, so it leaves plenty of space for rounders and football.

  • Bird’s nest swing to cater for all ages from baby (with adult!) upwards and also caters for children with disabilities, and encourages friendly, co-operative play.
  • Earth bank (see photo of similar design) gives natural place to run, jump, climb, roll and imagine your own games.
    • It also helps to provide a boundary for the youngest children, to help keep them safe from the road, and also provides a great natural bench to sit and chat.
    • Sandpit within the bank provides lots of opportunities for creative play, encouraging imagination and social play.
  • New wooden elements are very similar to those we are losing, but by repositioning them more closely, it provides a more challenging trail for older children.
  • All equipment has a critical fall height of under 1m, so can be put straight into grass for a more natural look. (Except the swing, which will need a fresh bark pit).

We need your support. Please comment below or email your comments to Gary Alexander ( or Rachel Baker (

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7 Responses to Help us to improve the children’s play area

  1. I’m really interested to see these plans. My family and I spend a lot of time on Fair Green in the summer, the combination of safe, grassy play space for the children, a glass of wine from the pub and fish and chips for tea seems to be a unique combination.

    I’m pleased to see a baby swing added as we have felt the absence of one. Also glad to see the existing swing being adjusted as it’s too high at the moment, my eldest daughter is almost 7 and still struggles to get on it. I love the idea of the grassy bank, my only reservation is regarding the sand pit – I’m not sure how many cats occupy the Fair Green area but I’m willing to bet they find it fairly rapidly …..

    But overall the plans look really exciting. Keep up the good work and fingers crossed for the funding.

  2. Ruth Noble says:

    The play area has long needed improving, and these plans sound really exciting. I especialy like the sound of improved access for pushchairs and the earth bank sand pit thing sounds really interesting. I would definitely bring my children to play at Fair Green more often if these improvements go ahead.

  3. fionalouise says:

    There are some really great ideas that I am sure my two children will adore. However, I too am not sure about the sand pit as I get fed up with all theire clothes, socks and shoes being full of sand when they come home.

  4. As a long time resident facing the Green I fully support the improvements to the play area.
    It provides not only an ideal safe place for children to play but also gives very busy parents space and time to relax with them away from the everyday stresses of family life.

  5. rachel says:

    Thank you for your comments, everybody.
    Tracey, I realise that I have not been sufficiently clear regarding the swing. The plan is to remove both existing swings and replace with just one, the bird’s nest swing.
    The sand pit is the area which is causing most discussion; particularly the fear of cats using it. Here is a response from an outside play expert;

    “Imagine animal poop…ew! I feel this fear is over-rated. Generally cats and dogs don’t hang around sandpits. Bird droppings may happen, as they will anywhere outside. However, if you have a visiting animal there are several precautions you can take. Putting a net or cover on the sand when not in use, works best. If you have a bespoke sandpit which doesn’t have an easy shape to cover, then have a look at Teacher Tom’s solution. At his pre-school, the sand gets covered with burlap (hessian) bags donated from a local business. I recently visited a Canadian school where an area of the grounds is one huge sand pit. No cover is possible. I did ask if animals “doing their business” was a problem. It wasn’t. However, if you ever wanted to be sure, rake down the sand last thing at night and look for animal prints the next day. Alternatively, consider the use of sonic repellents.”

    However, one person has also said that broken glass (from pub goers) could be an issue. Perhaps we should make more earth bank shapes and not include sannd? Or perhaps a pebble pool? What else do you think would work?

  6. Tracey Taylor says:

    Hi, we love the idea of improving the play area as so many children of all ages do use the green. We also have concerns about the sand pit idea – great if you can manage it in your own space but in a public area it will be much harder to maintain. Our concerns are dogs, cats, rubbish inc glass and fag butts – which could all potentially cause problems with the sand area? Is there anything that could be added or posistioned so that the older kids could use it as a target / goal area – instead of their coats!! Love the earth bank and bird nest swing ideas 😉

    • rachel says:

      Tracey, thanks for taking the time to comment. I think we may well need a re-think on the sand too. If we get through stage 1 of the funding application (just posted it off today, fingers crossed!) then we will have a design developing stage. I LOVE the idea of some kind of goal equipment. I had wondered about having a rounders kit kept somewhere central, (maybe the pub or cafe), possibly a set of boules etc. Maybe some cones for goals too?

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