Council awards contract to playground equipment specialists
East Devon District Council is moving ahead with delivering new attractions and entertainment on Exmouth’s sea front, while longer term development plans take shape.
The council, who is the landowner, has awarded a contract for a new and free play space at Queen’s Drive with attractive and fun play equipment for children, teenagers and families.
The council is investing £150,000 in the project and the free play space will sit alongside a range of other temporary uses, including food, drink and events to provide a lively and up to date attraction on the sea front.
Tenders were sought from play providers across the country to offer something very new for the town and six exciting and imaginative designs were submitted. The council has chosen award-winning playground equipment specialists, Eibe, who have come up with a great mix of activities for different ages and abilities, based on a Jurassic theme.
There will be swings, slides, roundabouts and see-saws along with sand pits to dig for fossils, as well as pterodactyls (flying reptile) nests to climb in and around. The centrepiece of the playpark, subject to planning consent, is expected to be a 7.5m high ‘Old Wise Tree’, a tower feature with climbing and balancing activities, as well as a 7m tubular slide.
This, along with another tall piece of equipment proposed for the site, will need approval from the council’s development management committee. Permission is being sought as part of the council’s current temporary uses planning application for Queen’s Drive which is expected to go before the committee in March.
Work to install the play equipment will start after the permissions have been approved and the free play area is expected to be completed by late Spring.
Cllr Philip Skinner, the council’s portfolio holder for the economy and chairman of the Exmouth Regeneration Programme Board, said:
The free play space signals exciting changes underway for Exmouth seafront and we are looking forward to a positive planning decision on our application that will let the full installation begin.
We want the Queen’s Drive site to be active and attractive for this holiday season and beyond. When we move toward permanent development and attractions on the site then equipment can be relocated and reused on other East Devon play sites, so that other children can continue to enjoy this brilliant new equipment into the future.
The council is continuing work on proposals for temporary uses for other parts of the site and is awaiting the outcome of its procurement process to select a food operator for the site.
In addition, the council is finalising the appointment of an experienced event organiser to assist with the planning of a programme of activities for part of the site.