The winning design for the new play park at Axminster

Facilities designed and chosen by local schoolchildren

Plans for a new play area in Axminster have taken a step forward as local children at St Mary’s Catholic Primary School  have chosen their favourite design.

East Devon District Council and Axminster Town Council have been working closely with Duke’s Way housing developers Betterment Homes, who are paying for the new play facilities as part of the approved planning permission. When funding of this kind comes forward – Section 106 funding – East Devon District Council has a firm policy to involve the community in how the money is spent.

The councils teamed up to ask children at St Mary’s Catholic Primary School to decide which one of four designs would be most suitable. The children had come up with what they would like to see on the site and companies provided the designs.

The youngsters voted for their favourite in a special school assembly. Of the 119 children who voted, 50% chose the winning design by Wicksteed and the play area will include a basket swing, zip wire, hurricane swing, large climbing rocks and a trampoline set into the ground. 

Betterment Homes is expected to start installing the play area in early April.

Councillor Iain Chubb, the district council's Cabinet Member for the Environment, said: 

A big thank you to all the children and young people in the town who have given their views on the type of equipment they wanted, and then voted on the resulting designs. As the young people are the ones that will be using this, we know it’s important that they get what they want.

Headteacher Mrs Angela Herrera said:

The children in our school are always eager to get involved in community activities and have their say.  It is great that they have been able to help choose the play equipment that many of them will be playing on outside of school and we thank East Devon District Council for helping us get involved.

Axminster Town Councillor Jeremy Walden, Chairman of the Amenities Committee, added:

We have found that young people use the facilities more if they choose the play equipment themselves, rather than have the items chosen for them. I do hope that this new play park, when completed, will give lots of children lots of fun for many years to come. There is nothing quite like the sound of children laughing and enjoying themselves to gladden the heart!