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Bitts Park play area

Published on 18 October 2016

Bitts Park play area

Watch a video of the opening event in the gallery below or using the link here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQcW4EaWjdY

Bitts Park play area reopened on Friday 21 October after more than £200,000 was spent replacing and improving the flood damaged site.

At the peak of the December floods, Carlisle’s premier play park was under eight feet of water and the contaminated water caused extensive damage to the mechanical and electrical components of the play equipment including the water splash feature. The safety matting was lifted and damaged by floodwater.

Following lengthy insurance negotiations, Carlisle City Council was able to start work this summer. Specialist suppliers were contracted: Ustigate Waterplay; Kompan Scotland Ltd; Abacus Playgrounds Ltd; GL Jones; RHD Construction; RTC Safety Surfaces and Westwood Landscapes.

Bespoke play equipment has been installed and the layout now includes flood resilient measures. The equipment is predominantly of steel frame construction with HDPE panelwork and floors - easily washed down. The equipment is also mostly of modular construction, allowing moving parts or contaminated parts to be easily replaced. Rubber surfacing is laid in large expanses in an attempt to reduce edging distance and likelihood of undercutting by water.

Cllr Chris Southward, Portfolio holder for Environment and Transport, said:

“Bitts Park play area was badly affected by Storm Desmond and all the equipment and surfacing had to be removed. Rather than replacing like for like, we’ve taken the opportunity to rethink what play equipment we have and how we can make it more flood resilient. All possible measures have been taken to ensure that the facility can return to operation as quickly as possible should any future flood events occur.

“We have also installed wheelchair accessible play equipment, including a swing and trampoline, plus other equipment that is accessible for all abilities and ages. We’d like to thank everyone that has helped us redesign the new play area. Mencap has supported with their expert advice and have also provided funding via a Cumbria Waste Management Environment Trust grant.”

The new play equipment includes:

Infants (up to 6)

  • Multi-unit including wide stairs and slide for parent/carer access alongside child and ground level play panels.
  • Swings with two cradle seats.
  • Seesaw with bench seats and inclusive back/foot rests.
  • Mini-car for role-play.
  • Spinner bowl.
  • Hammock with inclusive wide net.
  • Ground level play panels, including music panel.
  • Swings with fully wheelchair accessible platform plus one cradle and one flat seat.
  • Trampoline, fully wheelchair accessible.

Juniors (6-15)

  • Sky cabin including two slides.
  • Swings with basket seat and two flat seats.
  • Multi spinner carousel
  • Track ride.
  • Splash Park (all ages)
  • Jets, misters and arches.
  • Sand Pit (all ages)
  • Multi-unit including sand scoops and tunnels.
  • Two sand diggers

The interactive water feature has also been reinstated and will be back in operation in Easter 2017.

The £212,000 Bitts Park scheme has been funded by Carlisle City Council (the majority through flood insurance) and Cumbria Waste Management Environment Trust (CWMET), via an application from Carlisle Mencap.

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