Survey Results – Improving Buckstone Play Park

Introduction
Many thanks to everyone who has responded to my survey regarding Buckstone Play Park and the potential to improve it. I’d hoped to get 100 responses, but after just one week I had 201. The survey is still open and 258 people have now completed it.

My wife and I have lived in Buckstone since 2000, and both our kids (now 18 & 23) grew up loving the play park here (and the one in Fairmilehead Park). Since then, the park has been expanded and should last a few more years. There is a feeling, however, that it is now a little dated. Lockdown has highlighted to us all how important parks are, and over the past year many local parents and grandparents have contacted me asking if Buckstone’s play park can be improved. It is within than context that I drafted the survey.

It is important to note that I only want to use the survey to understand what people want. It is not a referendum, and I am hopeful that if we can improve the park we can reach an outcome that everyone is happy with!

Interim Survey Results
In this section of the blog I hope to run through some of the key outcomes from the survey so far.

Most people responding came from within Buckstone and the surrounding area. (Note – The marks don’t point to the homes of individual homes of respondents, but highlight the general postcode area)
Although some people thought the play park is fine, most people felt there was a need to improve it. Most felt more provision was needed for children aged 5-10.
Where suggestions for improvements for younger children were concerned, there was no shortage of ideas. Many people drew inspiration from parks elsewhere. By far, improved climbing equipment was see as the greatest need. Others saw the need to improve the swings and slides, and perhaps introduce a seesaw and sunken trampoline. A picnic table, flying fox, sand pit and playhouse was also popular. Many people preferred wooden equipment to reflect the semi-woodland setting.
In terms of provision for older kids, people were most supportive of a MUGA and a skatepark. “Other” options included everything from a climbing frame to golf nets and BMX/MTB course.
Although some people raised concerns, most people were open to expanding the park by using the area to the west. A few were clear that the “edible corridor” had to be protected, and others raised concerns that a poorly designed upgrade may lead to an increase in anti-social behaviour. A few people suggested that the playpark area should focus on play, whilst the nearby “Waterboard Field” (aka Brough Park) should focus on sport.

In terms of making the park more accessible for everyone, many thought that the access path could be improved and that equipment added to support kids with disabilities. Specifically, swings and sensory elements were mentioned.

Overall, I think that it is clear that that people feel the park has been overlooked and there is an appetite for change. Many people noted that an improved park may acts as a better focal point for the community.

I spoke to Council Officers a few weeks ago, and they agreed to cost the preferred options. Based on the survey, I shall ask for request costs for:

  1. A skate park;
  2. A flying fox;
  3. A timber climbing fort / slide / play house; and,
  4. An improved access path.

I shall also seek advice on how kids with disabilities can enjoy the park more.

Once we have costs and plans for this, we can discuss the plans within the local community and consider the next steps.

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