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Centrepiece Withy Grove Park slide to be replaced after arson attack

Posted on - 16th October, 2023 - 12:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Bamber Bridge, Preston News, Redevelopment, South Ribble News, What's On in Preston
Plans for the new slide at Withy Grove in Bamber Bridge
Plans for the new slide at Withy Grove in Bamber Bridge

The centrepiece of a South Ribble children’s playground is to be replaced  – more than a year after it was destroyed by two fires.

The two-shute tower slide at Withy Grove Park in Bamber Bridge was set alight twice in the space of a fortnight in August 2022.

It had been hoped that the popular attraction could be saved and repaired, but parts of the structure were so badly melted by the heat of the blazes that it had to be dismantled back in January.

Read more: Peace in football plaque unveiled in Bamber Bridge park

South Ribble Borough Council was told that the play feature – which was installed in 2007 – was no longer manufactured and so could not be replaced like-for-like. The authority’s cabinet has now chosen a design from a range of options submitted by companies wanting the £110,000 contract to install the new equipment.

The cost has been covered by the council’s insurers and cabinet members were told that discussions have been held with both the fire service and police about how to avoid a repeat of the arson incidents, including by the use of upgraded CCTV and other measures “to deter damage and anti-social behaviour”.

The near nine-metre-high kit will, like its predecessor, boast two slides – one a spiral covered tube and other other a more traditional open shute.

However, the structure – to be delivered by play specialists Kompan – will also include around 30 other features across its eight levels, like climbing equipment, viewing platforms and a fireman’s pole.

A megaphone also forms part of the blueprint  – a prospect which a meeting of South Ribble’s planning committee heard had initially caused alarm amongst the authority’s environmental health team, because of the noise it could cause.

“They were concerned whether it would be a real megaphone so that it would amplify children shouting and screaming across the park, which obviously we wouldn’t want to encourage,” explained planning manager Catherine Thomas.

“But it is just a toy megaphone,” she reassured committee members.  A condition banning any amplification of the feature was included as part of the permission that was granted for the design.

At the cabinet meeting where the procurement was approved, deputy council leader Aniela Bylinski Gelder said that the new slide would complement the Green Flag status that was recently conferred on the “much-loved” Withy Grove Park for the first time.

Planning committee member Will Adams told his colleagues that the replacement equipment would be a “big positive” for the community.

According to Kompan, the kit is designed for 7-12-year-olds, with capacity for 55 children to use it at any one time.

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