Northampton estates to get new play areas as part of £1m funding for the town

From left to right: Dianne Finnie, Peter Strachan and Andrea McAuliffe from Northampton's Growing Together fund, at the propose site for a new play area in Birds Hill Road, Lings.
From left to right: Dianne Finnie, Peter Strachan and Andrea McAuliffe from Northampton's Growing Together fund, at the propose site for a new play area in Birds Hill Road, Lings.

New outdoor play areas are set to be built in four Northampton estates as part of a £1 million Big Lottery Fund scheme.

Nearly £100,000 worth of equipment is to be installed at Rillwood Court in Lumbertubs; Birds Hill Road in

Lings; Foxcovert Wood in Overstone Lodge and Croftmeadow Court, Blackthorn as part of the Growing Together fund, which aims to

enhance the communities in the former Lumbertubs electoral ward over the next ten years.

Programme co-ordinator for the fund, which has already handed out 23 smaller grants to various groups and schools, Peter Strachan, said the areas could be open by spring, pending planning approval.

He said: “When we started the Growing Together fund, we spoke to 650 people across the town and community play areas were the single biggest thing people asked for on the doorstep.

“There is a very strong feeling there is more needed for youngsters in Northampton,” Mr Strachan added.

The new areas are being designed by Wicksteed Play Equipment and will be in keeping with their surroundings, Mr Strachan said, at a cost of £23,000 each. For example the Foxcovert Wood play area will have a woodland theme and is set to include a zip line.

Deputy chairman of the Growing Together fund, Dianne Finnie, lives a short walk away form the Lings play area at Tonmead Road.

She said: “To just be able to take my grandchildren without having to go somewhere in the car will be a delight.”

*The National Lottery Growing Together scheme in Northampton is one of 150 operating around the UK and will see £1 million spent in the Blackthorn,Goldings, Lings, Lumbertubs and Overstone

Lodge estates over the next ten years.

*Its action plan was first approved in August 2013 and since then groups have been invited to apply to the fund,overseen by a 15 member board consisting solely of local residents, for funding.

*Among a number of schemes supported so far, the fund has helped youth work projects; groups to tackle isolation among older people run by Age UK and has given contributed towards the

new Community Nursery at Blackthorn.