***Update – the playground reopened on 19 July – story here ***
Reigate’s Priory Park playground closed yesterday (Tuesday 4 June) for renovation work, with reopening scheduled for mid-July ahead of the school summer holidays.
As part of the project a new ‘Grey Lady’ ship, a second zipwire and new climbing structures will be installed.
Many have welcomed the idea of new equipment but others have questioned the need for the work, so soon after splash play equipment was installed in 2017.
Reigate & Banstead Borough Council says the renovation will relate to items that have been there since the playground was installed 12 years ago, and which are costing increasing amounts to maintain. Specialist (reisograph) tests have shown that timber is deteriorating because of use, weather and sand.
Residents have continued to query the summer timing of the closure, on the council’s Facebook page. In response, the council has said a public consultation last year on the project took time, as did the procurement process. Better weather will also help the work, it said.
It’s not clear why the project has begun later than the mid-May start the council suggested as recently as March, but parents doubtless enjoyed the playground being open in the recent half-term. The council has continued to say that the work will be completed in time for the summer school holidays, including in its most recent Facebook post.
A cost figure hasn’t been published for the project but it seems reasonable to assume it’s at least £160,000 for reasons set out in our previous article.
People have queried whether the playground in Priory Park is being unfairly prioritised over other sites in the borough. In response, the council has said that it’s replaced 25 borough playgrounds since 2008, a point it’s also made in a video (see below).