The Friends of Dell Park in Chepstow is leading community effort to restore and expand recreation facilities at Dell Park in Chepstow. The Landmark Practice’s Andy Spargo has been working with the group since early 2017 on this rewarding and exciting project. The current Dell playground area is run down, unimaginative and the equipment doesn’t appeal to all ages. The Friends are developing a plan to transform the area into a play park with a difference, where fixed play equipment is fitted into the natural landscape. The idea is to create an environment that attracts people to visit, play, chat, enjoy the great outdoors, get some exercise and make memories.
It’s a challenging project, not least because the Park is set within an historically rich and sensitive landscape which is rightly protected by law and planning policy. Dell Park forms part of the landscape surrounding the Grade I listed Chepstow Castle. It is also within a Conservation Area, and half of the existing play area sits in an Area of Special Archaeological Sensitivity. The site is bounded to the east by the Port Wall, the remains of the town wall around 1272-1278, which is both a Scheduled Ancient Monument and a Grade 1 listed building, and to the south and east by boundary walls recognised in planning policy as making a particular positive contribution to the area.
Andy brings a wealth of experience of tackling such challenges to the project. He has designed and delivered play areas in many sensitive sites across the UK (including Bristol, London and Leeds) all with his characteristic mix of creating a fun and stimulating play experience, encouraging exercise and giving an opportunity to learn about the environment.
The Design Approach
Landmark’s initial brief was to design the play area to be in keeping with the towns history and setting. The design also had to respond to feedback from public consultation which identified that the theme for the park should include a castle, a boat, a river and maybe a bridge.
Detailed site analysis followed, which came up with a number of options and opportunities to include a stunning gated entrance, fencing to allow for a ‘dog free’ play space, a toddler section, opportunities for inclusive play, an area for school-age children, provision for teenagers, and natural experiences for all. In terms of design, the approach is to use materials that fit with the natural setting, and play apparatus that is cheerful in colour. Changes in levels by earth modelling are proposed to create space and an organic feel.
The scheme is anticipated to cost up to £500,000 to deliver. As well as giving technical and design input to the project, Andy has also been helping the Friends of Dell Park with their fund raising for this ambitious community scheme.
On 13 May, Landmark took part in a Family Festival organised by the Friends of Dell Park in Chepstow. Andy was on hand to showcase plans for the proposed new park and to listen to feedback from visitors.
Claire Adams, Chairwoman of Friends of Dell Park, said: “It was an absolutely amazing day. The atmosphere was incredible and the sun just kept on shining. There were lots of performances from all sort of local groups and lots of much needed money was raised for the new park. “The feedback we got from people will be quantified and then we will be using that in our grant application.”
If you would like to know more about this project, be interested to invest in, or need information about design and management of play and recreation areas, please contact Andy Spargo on 0117 9230455 or email him at Andy.Spargo@thelandmarkpractice.com