Work underway on a new play area for Thornes Park

Work has begun on a new £400,000 play area for Thornes Park.

Children in the district will soon be able to enjoy themselves in a new play area accessible to children of all ages and abilities.

There will be an inclusive swing seat and basket swing, a roundabout which can be used by everyone, including wheelchair users, and low-level sensory panels.

The new play area, which will be in its existing location, next to the miniature railway, will also have a train-themed toddler area, a ‘giant’s unit’ nearly 9m tall and, linking in with the history of Thornes Park being the site of Wakefield Castle, will feature a motte and bailey castle-styled area with an embankment tube slide and a double zip line.

The investment is part of the £1m million funding Wakefield Council has committed to improving Thornes Park,  one of the most well-used parks in the district, and is part of a wider programme of improvements to parks across the district.

The work at Thornes Park is expected to last eight weeks. The new play area is due open in November. The works to this area will not impact on the many other facilities within the park which will remain open as normal.

The Council carried out an in-depth consultation exercise about the existing play area which received more than 500 responses. The overwhelming view expressed was that the play area was in need of improvements including improved provision for those with disabilities.

Jack Hemingway smiling
Deputy Cllr Jack Hemingway

Cllr Jack Hemingway, Cabinet Member for Environment and Climate Change, said: “We know that the play area at Thornes Park – one of the district’s major parks – is in need of an upgrade and this is what residents have told us as well.

“I’m really excited to see the new play area come to life and want to thank residents for their patience, both while we’ve put plans together and while the work is carried out.

“I hope people agree that it will be worth the wait. It will be a valuable facility for families in our district to meet, socialise and take part in healthy outdoor activity.

“We’ve really thought carefully about the design, listening to what residents have told us, and an inclusive swing seat in Thornes Park is only the beginning. Our aim is for more inclusive play areas for all children.”  

The Council has also been working closely with the Friends of CHaT (Clarence, Holmfield and Thornes) Parks group on the new design.

Ian Deighton, Chair of the group said: “This is great news for Thornes Park! Thanks to Wakefield Council and our Councillors for the Lupset and Thornes Area, we will have a fantastic new play area in Thornes Park. Offering far more than anything we have had before, there will be challenges and activities for all age groups and abilities.

“With references in the design to the miniature steam railway and the nearby Wakefield Castle, it will be a magnificent new attraction for visitors to the park and have that “wow” factor that people expect in a major park for the city.”