The current Tan y Mur play park has existed over 40 years with only individual components updated or replaced in that time. Larger investment has not been possible to date and maintenance on existing equipment, to meet ROSPA safety inspections, has been harder to do as it reaches the end of its useful life. Over the last decade, the lack of sufficient provision has been noted by families to Montgomery Town Council (MTC), who, as a Council with a small population and thus a limited precept, have not had the resources to address it.
Several local parents came forward to form a constituted community Friends of Montgomery Play Park with the endeavour to pursue the vision for a new, relevant park for children and young people. Supported by MTC, they wish to drive forward an aspirational, inclusive, sustainably responsible, bespoke, safe and imaginative play facility that the community can be proud of while being accessible on foot or by bike alongside public transport/car. This will be an important hub for physical activity and social interaction for all family members both locally from Montgomery, Hen Domen, Caerhowel, Llandyssil, Forden, Chirbury as well as visitors to the area. This will directly benefit local children and young people, local parents / carers / guardians and wider family members, family visitors and tourists to the area, community groups for children and young people and Montgomery businesses owners (tourism, longer stays within the town)
The Friends have driven the community consultation processes, communicated with prospective play providers, been ambassadors for the need for quality play and raised funds. They will continue work through to delivery and actively support the community in the longer term through assisting with the maintenance programme, fundraising and animating the space through dedicated events. Play park safety will continue to be under MTC’s remit through annual ROSPA inspections.
The new facilities are proposed for the recreational field near Tan Y Mur and Maldwyn housing estates, next to Montgomery Football Club ground, with easy access to the Whitegate Pool Wildlife site and Lymore Park Estate encouraging further family activity through walking and cycling. The proposed site, owned by MTC, offers ample space for a play park, with enough room for informal ball games and other recreational activities including a junior football pitch. The main priorities of for this park are;
1. Be fully inclusive catering for children of all abilities;
2. Offer appropriate and diverse facilities for a range of age groups from toddler to teenage while encouraging intergenerational play opportunities;
3. Deliver a bespoke play environment that offers dynamic and multi-sensory experiences for shared and individual play;
4. Bring about imaginative and creative play;
5. Be a safe environment that considers younger users and manages risk in a positive way;
6. Be unique to Montgomery and reflect its location;
7. Be aesthetically pleasing through creative solutions that focus on sustainability, using natural materials (including earthworks and native planting schemes);
8. Using sustainable materials that are safe, robust and easily maintained;
9. Be a hub for all generations, offering fully accessible places for rest, shelter and communal gathering;
10. Enhance day and stay visits to the town, and lengthen duration (tourists or locals)
The proposed site for the new play park is a recreational field adjacent to Whitegate Pool, a designated wildlife site and picnic area within Montgomery, that sits on the edge of Lymore Estate, a 17th century deer park with public access for walks including Offa’s Dyke Path. Over recent years, the town has enhanced and promoted access to outdoor leisure activities including walking and cycling trails, developed sustainable practices and encouraged wildlife corridors and enriched the lives of inhabitants and visitors to the town. The playpark would be a vital addition to long term aspirations.
The play park would dovetail with Montgomery FC ground while the remaining area of the recreational field would allow for an official U10 coaching pitch alongside informal ball games and other recreational pursuits.
It is proposed that the play park and field will be animated through specific events or activities, whereby community groups will have greater opportunity to interact such as Mini Monty’s baby and toddler group, Pre-school, Brownies while there is opportunity for structured activity such as workshops / performances linked to the annual summer show, craft fair and other Town events.
The play park on Old Gaol Road is not changing for the time being although the Council will still maintain it, a new fundraising project would need to take place to update it.