Explore all the work that’s already been done and what’s planned for Great Shelford Rec by scrolling down or clicking on a phase in the list to the right.
Play Provision Reviewed
In March 2015 Great Shelford Parish Council asked us to produce an Initial Study reviewing the current play provision on the Great Shelford Recreation Ground and looking at possible solutions.
We concluded that:
- The equipment is dated and in need of repair
- Toddlers, teenagers and those with additional needs are not catered for
- The playground in particular is very exposed to the elements
- There is no inherent design in the layout of the playground, so aesthetically uninspiring
As the rec is shared by many different stakeholders, we recommended instructing experienced architects to produce a Master Plan for the whole recreation ground, to make it work better for everyone.
Not just for the kids
Many children can only play outside when accompanied by an adult.
Gone is the era when most children waved goodbye to parents in the morning for adventures in the local woods, streams & fields, only to return for tea. Because of this, play areas and communal open spaces need to work harder at giving our children resources and inspiration for play, whilst enticing their accompanying adult out too.
We have an opportunity to breathe new life into the play provision in Great Shelford – to create an inspiring place that welcomes people of all ages and abilities, engages all of their senses, invites nature in, and encourages play for all.
The community has been consulted every step of the way.
The Master Plan was developed in response to extensive initial consultations that we undertook over eight months in 2016, from focus groups with community groups to an online survey open to all residents and visitors. We also held regular public exhibitions and consultations and scheduled meetings with stakeholders. At every stage the responses were overwhelmingly positive and people’s comments and suggestions helped the plans evolve and improve.
Erect Architecture was instructed to produce a phased Master Plan, from car park to river, which we, and the Parish Council, have been steadily implementing.
According to a design report, successful play spaces:
- are bespoke
- make use of natural elements
- are accessible to both disabled and non-disabled children
- allow different ages to play together
- provide opportunities to experience risk and challenge
This has guided the design for Great Shelford.
01 MASTER PLAN
A New Vision for Great Shelford Rec
Take a stroll through Tom’s Midnight Garden, clamber around the restless landscape, relax with a picnic and find your wild side down by the river!
Erect Architecture’s inspired Master Plan for the rec was granted planning permission in June 2018.
The design subtly re-zones the space we have: the play area is shifted towards the car park, the skating provision is welcomed into this new area, new storage solutions allow the space around the pavilion to be used for spectating and socialising, access is improved and the riverside is enhanced.
The various areas that need improving have been divided into phases, allowing changes to the rec to be co-ordinated, both now and in the future.
For more details on each phase, please scroll down or click the tab menu to the right.
02 THE COPSE PROJECT
Identified in the Master Plan as a place for more interaction with nature and natural play, GSP and the Shelford and Stapleford Youth Initiative (SSYI) worked together to realise this new scheme for the area down by the river.
Designed by local Landscape Architect Sophie O’Hara Smith, the intention was to blur the edges of the copse by increasing the number of native plants and trees, opening up some routes through the copse and leaving grass to grow in to meadows whilst introducing logs to play and sit on. As we’d hoped, this area has encouraged more wildlife and enticed the community to experience the wilder side of the rec!
The SSYI generously supported this project through funding and labour – the young people worked hard over many sessions to build the willow dome, plant the meadow, plant woodland species, lay new paths and install the balancing logs.
We also successfully applied to the South Cambs Community Chest and the Co-Op Community Fund to fund the new bridge, stepping-stones and plants.
03 SERVICES & STORAGE
To free up space around the pavilion, the sports equipment storage has been relocated. A new services connection point has been installed, enabling more flexibility for events on the Rec, such as the relocation of the Shelford Feast tent to free up access to the rec during feast week, and creating room for the Playscape to edge away from the cricket square.
The rather tired green shelter is overdue its makeover using a winning combination of three designs generated by our competition.
The old “red” horse and roundabout will join the shelter as quirky seating and transform this once uninviting seating area (with no seat ledges!) to a fun destination for all ages.
05 INCLUSIVE PLAYSCAPE
At the heart of the Master Plan is an inclusive Playscape, a playful and playable landscape, that does not segregate by age all ability.
The design follows Best Practice principles for play provision, specifically the use of natural elements and an inclusive approach allowing people of all abilities and ages to play together.
- Relocated play area with rolling, playable landscape with natural features.
- Spectacular, bespoke, climbing frame that provides many play opportunities and routes
- In-wheelchair access to the sand play, trampoline and roundabout and a double-width slide for carers to assist, as well as sensory elements
- Boundaries created through planting and landscaping, more trees for shade and wildlife
- New secure fence around car park
- Safer distance from the cricket boundary
The quarter-pipe never really worked for bikes or skateboards, it was used mostly by children trying to run up the ramp! It also suffered from a lot of vandalism.
Our solution? A low level hard landscaped area designed by skateboarding specialist, for both learners and the more experienced to practice their skills. Integrated into the play hub of the playscape, the aim is that the more interesting layout and the passive surveillance will make it a safer place for everyone.
07 ENTRANCE & PARKING
Currently access to the recreation ground is straight through the car park – a rather hairy experience for most parents. Reallocating space to create a separated foot path with extra cycle parking, will not only give the Rec a defined entrance it will also keep our most vulnerable members of the community safe as they access the rec.
Car parking spaces lost to the new pedestrian entrance will be reallocated to the site of the old skate quarter-pipe and vehicular access to the rec will be only round the back of the scout hut.
The Parish Council has set aside funds to construct this phase.
08 BALL GAMES
The current basketball hoop is kind of lonely all by itself down by the river. Instead, the master plan proposes a new combined basketball hoop and football goal, dug into the banking next to the shelter that’ll bring all the main play aspects closer together.
09 ADVENTURE TREE
Just because it’s always worth dreaming big… a possible future project to add a bespoke, challenging natural climbing structure on the site of the current basketball court.