State-of-the-art play park opens in Friday Bridge in time for holidays
Youngsters are enjoying a summer of fun right on their doorstep after a state-of-the-art play area and skate park opened just in time for the school holidays.
The £160,000 park at Maltmas Drove, Friday Bridge, was officially opened on the last day of the school term to the delight of children, parents and local representatives who have been campaigning for a facility for more than seven years.
More than 50 people turned out for its official unveiling, with villagers joining project partners as excited pupils finished school and tried out the equipment for the first time.
Designed and installed by specialist manufacturer HAGS, the eagerly awaited play park features something for all ages including a zip wire and climbing frame inspired by the village’s Water Tower and a toddler zone for younger visitors.
There’s also a skate park and multi-use games area to play various sports, an overhead carousel and various swings, as well as new landscaped picnic areas. And being added to the park soon is a bespoke play tractor and outdoor adult fitness equipment.
Councillor Will Sutton, who campaigned for the park along with fellow district Councillor Michelle Tanfield, explained that the project started back in 2011 when two young boys attended an Elm Parish Council meeting to ask for better play equipment locally.
Without a suitable site available in Elm, the project gathered pace in 2014 when proposals to create a park in nearby Friday Bridge went out to public consultation.
Coun Sutton said: “It’s been a long time coming but now it’s finally here and the children absolutely love it! The facilities are fantastic.”
Coun Tanfield added: “It’s great to see the children getting so much out of the park already. I hope it will be enjoyed and looked after for many years to come.”
The park was made possible thanks to £77,000 from Fenland District Council’s former Rural Capital Grants Fund and £20,000 from Section 106 developer agreements, along with a grant of £50,000 from WREN’s FCC Community Action Fund and £12,500 from Elm Parish Council.
Coun Sutton thanked everyone who has been involved in the project over the years, and paid special thanks to village campaigner Charlotte Davis, parish council clerk Claire Butcher and Fenland District Council’s parks and open spaces team for their support, as well as Friday Bridge Womens’ Institute for providing refreshments during the opening event.
Elm Parish Council Chairman, Councillor, John Brand, added his thanks to all concerned and said he hoped the children of the parish would get many years of use from the park.
Cheryl Raynor, WREN’s grant manager for Cambridgeshire, said: “It’s wonderful to see something we have funded finally open and ready to make such a difference to young people and families. WREN is always happy to consider grant applications for projects that
benefit local communities and this is a great example of what can be achieved.”
Councillor Peter Murphy, Fenland District Council’s cabinet member responsible for parks and open spaces, added: “I’m delighted local residents now have close access to a modern and safe facility where young people and families can come together and play outdoors. I’d
like to commend everyone who has helped bring this worthwhile project to fruition; I’m sure
that it is going to provide hours of enjoyment for all ages of the community.”
WREN is a not-for-profit business that awards grants for community, biodiversity and heritage projects from funds donated by FCC Environment through the Landfill Communities Fund.