Deopham Play Park Project
Deopham & Hackford Parish Council are in the process of developing and improving the playing field for the benefit of all within the parish.
The project in principle will be a new fenced play park with a variety of equipment, a fenced car park with path to the play park, and a slightly wider entrance to the new car park which will provide improved visibility of the road when entering and leaving the car park. The new car park, which needed planning permission, will ensure cars are not parked on the road, improving safety for all.
Update - Summer 2023
The first piece of play equipment, an activity tower, was installed in January 2023. The Council received some very positive feedback following its installation and it has been well used over the summer.
Since its installation the Council have applied for various grants to provide funding for the remaining equipment. Unfortunately two of these applications have been unsuccessful due to the large number of applications received. Competition for grants is very high. A third grant application is still pending and the outcome of this is expected in late autumn. If this is successful the Council aim to install the next stage of new play equipment in early 2024. The exact equipment to be installed will be dependant on funds available at the point of order. The Council are continuing to support additional fundraising events in the community as well as contributing funds to the 'pot' from its own income. The priority for the project now is to install some further equipment and to install the fence around the area creating a safer environment for those using the play park. The car park will be done at a later stage following further fundraising.
Before any thoughts could be put towards new play equipment a new, long term lease between the Rix Trust, who own the playing field, and Deopham & Hackford Parish Council had to be put in place. This was achieved in June 2021 and allowed for the next stage of the project to proceed.
The Council formed a working party in May 2021 to work on achieving the project, with the support of the Clerk and Council. A lot of background work, research and discussions were needed to move the project forward.
Current Play Equipment
Before the Council approached any play equipment companies we needed to know what equipment children and families would like. Ideas were sought from families of various ages, research was carried out into the provision of play equipment in the local area and collectively this allowed the Council to engage with play equipment companies to discuss and draft plans for the new equipment.
The working party, armed with a detailed site plan, met with play equipment company reps at the playing field and have spent a lot of time comparing play equipment, building materials, suitable surface materials and quotations. Car park and fencing quotes were also sought from additional contractors.
The vision for the development of the playing field included the creation of a car park. Before any further progress could be made on the new play park, the Council were required to submit a planning application for the car park and widened entrance. This was submitted in March 2022 and permission was granted in June 2022.
Plan for Car Park and Widened Entrance
Whilst all this has been happening, fundraising events have been organised by a small group of volunteers. Events held so far in 2022 include Bingo, a Beetle Drive and the “Deopham & Hackford Through The Ages” history event. These events have collectively raising £692. The fund raising team would like to thank all those who participated and volunteered.
Previous fundraising from past events has been held in a ring fenced reserve fund within the Parish Council accounts. These funds have been collectively grouped and renamed as agreed by the Council at their meeting in February 2022. Recent fundraising has been added to this reserve fund.
Alongside fundraising, the Council are also contributing CIL (Community Infrastructure Levy) funds towards the improvements at the playing field. This money is received by the Council from developments in the parish and must be used to improve infrastructure.
As of June 2022 funds raised for the developments at the playing field are:
Replacement Play equipment reserve (previous fund raising) £2233.84
Recent fundraising £692
CIL £ 6338.85
With the support of the District Councillor, Yvonne Bendle, the Council has recently applied for a £15,000 grant via the Community Action Fund (run by South Norfolk Council). Combining this with funds already raised will enable the Council to install the first piece of play equipment. The grant was awarded in early July 2022 and the Council are now working with the play equipment provider to plan the first stage of installation.
Further grants will then be applied for to enable the installation of the remaining equipment and the car park. Many larger grant applications require the applicant to be able to cover a percentage of the funds for a project such as this, for example a grant may be operated on a 50/50 match funding basis. For this reason the whole project may be completed in multiple stages.
The actual shopping list for everything the Council wants with regard to play equipment is around £44,000 net. There will be additional costs of approx. £20,000 net for the fencing, car park and removal of the old equipment.
Indicative Play Park Designs (subject to change)
The Parish Council have moved as swiftly as the system allows and wanted to put in place some equipment as soon as possible. We do understand the need to improve the area and the benefits this will bring to the parish and its residents. In the meantime the swings and ball game will remain in place until further equipment is purchased and the new car park is ready to be created.
The Parish Councillors are volunteers and have given lots of time and energy to represent the villages of Deopham & Hackford and we look forward to your interest and support in the future. As can clearly be seen, a project of this nature will take time to complete in stages but with the support and help from residents, it will soon be a project we can be proud of.
Images of the proposed Play Park Project were on display during 2022 in the Gralix Hall.
Parish Councillors extend a warm welcome to members of the public to attend Council meetings and find out more about this project and the other work of the Council. Meetings take place on the first Wednesday of each month (except January & August), 7.30pm at Gralix Hall. Details and agendas for the meetings can be found on the village noticeboards and the Council website.