A Destination Play Park 

Open Newtown and Newtown & Llanllwchaiarn Town Council (NLTC) are working in partnership to create a new destination Play Park which will replace and enhance the current facilities close to Back Lane car park, the existing model railway site and the new Riverside Venue Development. 

The park will have areas for all ages of young people and will be a great asset to both the town and to visitors. Plans include new play areas and to replace the existing play park opposite the River Severn below the old Radio Hafren building. The play areas cater for three age groups in three separate but connected spaces.  

Open Newtown took a group of students from various schools across Newtown on a day visit to Telford play park to explore their needs, wants and desires for a new play park. This data was then used to create an initial design. This design was shared with Sunshine Playgrounds and helped inform the final design. 

The location of the new play park will be opposite the River Severn, adjacent to the old Radio Hafren building and the existing miniature railway track. We are also replacing the old Radio Hafren building with a new, Welsh Government funded Riverside Venue. 

Benefits / Impact 

Open Newtown, through its service level agreement with NLTC, will facilitate the development of the new facility and are fully committed to developing inclusive and accessible play areas. 

The overall aim is to create an area that leaves a positive lasting impression on those that visit the area and use the facilities. How the play park reflects its natural surroundings will be of great importance. Natural play will form a part of the design and installation. 

Environmental factors have been considered in the design, such as drainage and surface water collection, filtration and run off, as the site is next to the River Severn. Leaf fall from trees was considered in the placement of equipment and, in some cases, root protection systems have been installed.  

Welsh language and culture are of importance and any features that incorporate words must do so bi-lingually,  including all construction signage. 

Further information

For further information, please contact Gary Mitchell (project manager) about this project. Please complete our Feedback form and select ‘Project: Playpark’ from the drop down menu.

Further details 

The new destination play park will offer an experience for a range of ages and abilities including the opportunity to learn, interact, imagine and play together. A separate toddler play area will be located behind the existing ‘Old Radio Hafren’ building and a junior play area adjacent to the miniature railway track. In addition, facilities will be created for teenagers on the site of the existing playground area.  

The play areas reflect the surrounding natural environment and have been designed to reflect local landmarks and heritage by using features such as a motte and bailey castle and the River Severn. There is an obstacle course, woodland agility trail and an impressive wooden structure so that children can let their imagination run wild and explore every little nook and corner, on various levels. It has been designed for numerous children of all ages playing at the same time, helping them develop both social and cognitive creative skills.  

To complement the play facilities, Open Newtown is also providing picnic benches for families to fully enjoy this new feature.  

As well as the play equipment and natural play features, benches and seating will be installed. 

There are three distinct and connected areas:  

Area A 

Which caters for a toddler age group between 0 and four years old. It will have a secure boundary and will be overlooked by the new Riverside Venue picnic terrace. It will be accessible both from the green spaces and from the proposed new development as indicated on the plans.  

Area B 

The larger of the three spaces, it is close to the existing miniature railway track and the design caters for those between the ages of five and teenage years. It will create some challenging activities and ones that stimulate the user’s imagination. This area will not be fenced and the design shows a mix of natural grass surfaces and the more man-made ‘bouncy’ surfaces.  

Area C 

This is where the current play area is located. Much of the existing equipment has been removed for possible future use within the town boundary. There is a new shelter for teenagers, somewhere to hang out and future proposals include a half MUGA pitch.  

Working in partnership 

This is one of the many proposed projects from the partnership to boost activities and tourism in the town that are supported by The National Lottery Community Fund and NLTC funds 

Town Clerk – “Newtown’s Destination Playpark is the result of clear vision and hard work by the Town Council, Councillors and Staff, placing recreation and tourism high on priorities after several public consultations. Working constructively with others is the direction of travel for local councils.  This example with Open Newtown demonstrates what partnerships can deliver by bringing in extra funding through The National Lottery Community Fund. Newtown is a place to invest in improvements and opportunities, in this case approximately £170,000 in total. We look forward to the results being in place in the Summer.” 

What’s happened so far 

  • At the meeting of the NLTC Services Committee in October 2019, a contract was awarded to Sunshine Playgrounds, in partnership with Kompan, to begin work on the new town centre playpark in 2020. 
  • June 2020 Update – Works have been delayed due to COVID-19. Our contractor, Sunshine Playgrounds, has now returned to site and hope to complete by August 2020 but we are unsure as to when its use may be permissible under government legislation. 
  • September 2020 Update – Main play park area and teenage area has been complete and open to the public. The toddler area will be complete when the fencing becomes available, sadly another delay due to Covid. Upon opening, Newtown and Llanllwchaiarn have taken on responsibility for the play park and carry out inspections of equipment, so any faults should be reported to their Offices – www.newtown.org.uk

Costs & Funding 

£123,000 from Newtown & Llanllwchaiarn Town Council

£50,000 from The National Lottery Communtiy Fund Wales and Open Newtown 

Addressing concerns  

Future requirements under COVID-19 

We carried out a full environmental risk assessment prior to development.

The park received an inspection report prior to opening, from a RoSPA certified Safety Inspector and there were no concerns to delay opening.

Two myths that people perceive with regards to fencing are :
1. Keeps dogs out
2. Keeps toddlers in
Both are untrue. Fencing makes no difference with dogs and many play areas are known to have dogs inside or dog droppings inside. This is a social awareness issue.

We would be deeply disappointed if anyone would consider it acceptable to allow their dog to foul in a public space and not clear it up afterwards, let alone in an area that is clearly a childs play area. Whilst we encourage people to report such issues, we would also hope that people are able to do the decent thing and find a means to remove the offending mess as soon as possible.

The toddler point is untrue also. There are many occasions witnessed where parents believe they can let their children run free, like in a play centre, but often the parents get immersed in conversations and toddlers have been known to escape. This is not a drop off and go play park and the design is intended to form part of the larger green space.

Final point: The river – There are 2 pathways between the park and the river which act as natural markers. A fence would not lower any risk here either.

The river is also 20+ metres from the play park, with hedges and trees blocking easy access.

Revised plans 

Initial concepts were revised during the tender process. 

Alignment to national, county and local strategies 

Access to outdoor spaces and the Right to Play.

Future additions 

  • Benches, picnic tables and bins to follow
  • Possible addition of enhanced features in the teen area
  • Possible structures that support forest and river schools




Stay up to date – join our newsletter!

Keep in touch – get involved –  make a difference