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Hillyfields community park feature for green places magazine

Date: 24/10/2008           Category: Greenspaces

Strong partnership working between Medway Council, Groundwork Kent and Medway and residents is the key to success that has helped develop and improve a community park in Gillingham, Kent. A total of £660,000 funding from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, Liveability and Section 106 Agreements was secured to improve the Hillyfields Community Park during two phases. The park’s makeover began in 2005 with the upgrading of the road and paths around the park. Groundwork Kent and Medway was selected as the design and build partner and put together plans to link the footpath network around the site, install a flight of steps leading to the top tier of the site to replace a muddy slope. This improved access to an old orchard area, which now forms part of a community project, is also being overseen by Groundwork. The Friends of Hillyfields’ association and pupils at nearby schools have helped shape the project; new entrances feature engraved paving slabs with poems written by pupils have been installed. New park furniture finished phase 1 of the park’s facelift and has helped instil faith in the area and a new-found respect for the park’s integrity as a community asset. Three years on and phase 2 has been completed. Joint working between the community, nearby schools, Medway Council and Groundwork helped inform the design of the new play area. Groundwork carried out a series of workshops in schools to find out what children wanted from the play area. From this point a well-informed and innovative design developed using natural materials and landform mixed with exciting play equipment and various materials. The final design was then consulted on and tendered out through a design and build contract with Groundwork Kent and Medway. SSG Landscapes was selected as the construction partner and works began in September 2008. What has made this play area unique is the introduction of ditches, boulders, bridges and a mosaic of grass swards that offer an exciting adventure beyond the traditional equipped play area. PHASE 2 INFORMATION Designer:- Groundwork Kent and Medway Client:- Medway Council Area of Project:- 5500sqm (?) Project Costs:- £261,479 play area - £41,369.40 design, tender, delivery Construction Contractor:- SSG Landscapes Fund Sources:- Section 106 and Biffaward Start and finish date (construction):- September 2008-November 2008