All our staff at Urban Green Newcastle are absolutely devastated by the arson attack on the playground in Heaton Park. The incident happened on the night of 13 September; the fire service responded quickly, and the police are now looking into the circumstances surrounding the fire.
It is so sad that this popular site, which has only recently been able to reopen after lockdown, has now been destroyed for our young people. Our team have been to the site to assess the damage and cordon off the affected area to keep the public safe. Very sadly, the main piece of equipment is damaged beyond repair and will need to be replaced. This bespoke play unit was created especially for Heaton Park, and unfortunately the company who created it are no longer operating so we will be unable to replace it immediately ‘like for like’. This means that we will need to commission a new piece, and will consult with the local community on what will work best for that area.
The cost of the required repairs will be significant, with our initial estimates putting the cost at over £25k, so we have begun to look at how we can source the money to fund these repairs. We know that the community around Heaton Park are fantastic supporters, and played a key role in fundraising for the installation of this playpark equipment just two years ago. They have already pulled together in the most amazing show of solidarity, and established a Facebook Group and a Go Fund Me page to contribute towards the works required for the park. We are enormously grateful to everyone involved, and will be working closely together over the next few months as we agree a new unit, and commission the work.
It was always part of Urban Green Newcastle’s plans to work with play experts and local communities to invest in excellent play areas that users can enjoy for years to come, while also developing our plans for the wider park. We are keen to speak to people in the local community, the Friends of Heaton and Armstrong Parks and local councillors about how we will develop the playpark going forwards. Given the current restrictions we are looking at alternative ways to facilitate these discussions so for now we ask that if you would like to be involved in this consultation going forwards please get in touch with us via firstname.lastname@example.org