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Plans to Transform Wincanton Recreation Ground & Public Spaces

Wednesday 26 June 2013, 14:07
By John Baxter

Cale Park master plan document - click to get a larger view
Master plan: click for a larger view, or download the full PDF containing all the designs.

Having attended the excellent public presentation of the plans for the Recreation Ground on display in the David Sharp Centre I, and everyone else I have spoken to, was surprised and impressed.

The plans are the work of the group chaired by Richard D'Arcy and containing the following members of the Town Council: Christine Dean, Deryck Lemon, Linda Walters, Colin Winder SSDC, and David Norris SSDC, Ruby Shave and Town Clerk Sam Atherton.

Cllr. Richard D'ArcyCllr. Deryck LemonLandscape Architect, Nick Perrett
Cllr. Richard D'Arcy, Cllr. Deryck Lemon (Mayor) and landscape architect Nick Perrett

Following the depressing vandalism that befell first the pavilion and then the children's playground in the last few years, we have been left with the charred remains of the first and a denuded site as regards the second - with almost nothing left for small children to play on. Almost certainly the perpetrators have moved on or hopefully have grown up and now feel ashamed of what they have done and it is time to start again, and that is what this group has been doing.

The Recreation Ground Area

With the help of Surveyor Philip Reeder and two specialists officers from South Somerset District Council (Rob Parr, Senior Play and Youth Facilities Officer and Youth Facilities Officer, Adrian Moore), their first task was to look hard at what we have.

Firstly we have a beautiful cricket pitch, an area formerly used for allotments, an attractive bridge and the winding River Cale. Then there's the children's playground and a periodic flood, marsh and reed area with a path leading to the new Health Centre and the New Barns Estate – an area (Atkins Hill) handed over to the Council by the property developer, Abbey Manor. We also have an area of grass and trees leading on to the skate park and the crossing to the supermarkets.

Wincanton Recreation Ground play area

All this amounts to quite a considerable area and when one looks at the plans that are being developed, they should quite quickly give Wincanton a really attractive recreation area providing sports and leisure opportunities for everyone, from toddlers to teenagers and adults. In the longer term, as trees and planting become really established the result could be a really beautiful rural park set in the midst of a growing town.

The Choice of Landscape Architect Nick Perrett

So what has the group done? After surveying the whole area they decided to advertise for a landscape architect to draw up a comprehensive plan. A competition was held and Nick Perrett of Red Bay Design Landscape Consultants was chosen.+

What follows are his plans. Note, these include a new footbridge linking the play area with the cricket ground, a network of new footpaths, the development of garden spaces, flower meadows, picnic areas and the planting of many trees. We hope you will comment on these and make suggestions and either place your comments here or use our Facebook or Twitter pages or hand them in to the Town Council offices.

Full PDF with all the design presentation sheets - Download

Cale Park Presentation Sheet - Play Area

Entrance Garden area, including the river platform under the bridge

Cale Park entrance garden plan

Wincanton Recreation Ground shelter and river bank

Cale Park Presentation Sheet - Summer Garden

The wetland between the recreation ground and Morrisons, below the New Barns estate

Cale Park Presentation Sheet - Wetland Garden

Costs and Priorities

As regards the cost, where the money will come from and what elements should be tackled first Richard D'Arcy had this to say:

"South Somerset District Council has allocated £35,000 towards the play equipment for the play area and Wincanton Town Council has allocated £6,000.

"The overall cost of the project is anticipated to be in the region of £500,000. A more accurate figure will be available when the design is finalised and a Cost Estimate obtained. Grants will be sought from various grant funding bodies. To do this we will be getting professional fundraising support from Louise Treacher of .

"Results from the consultation will be compiled and presented to the working group. If possible any amendments/suggestions will be embodied into the final overall plan. When agreed the final plan will be presented to Wincanton Town Council for approval.

"Unfortunately progress will not be as quick as we would like as the process dictates a step by step approach, but I see this as a vision which benefits future generations. The working group meets on a regular basis to ensure the momentum is maintained."

Richard also emphasised that all expenditure on this project will be shown in the financial records of the Town Council which always aims to be open and accountable.


Posts: 1
Wincanton Regreation Ground and Public Spaces
Reply #1 on : Sat August 24, 2013, 13:36:15
The plan looks excellent,congratulations to all.
Please take the opportunity to put a piece of sculpture relating to disc world in the park and can i put my name down for one of the permanent park wardens that you will need to look after it all.
I do think a price tag of £500,000 is a bit low , i would have thought closer to a million pounds with further on going costs for at least i park warden.I don't want to put a negative on it because it does look great, but it will be another out of town asset that will by its nature keep people out of town.
Just another thought , can the gates to the park look like the Gateway to Somerset sign?
Posts: 1
Re: Plans to Transform Wincanton Recreation Ground & Public Spaces
Reply #2 on : Sat August 24, 2013, 15:06:15
I agree - a Discworld sculpture in the park is a great idea.

As we've gone through the effort of getting officially twinned with a popular fictional town, it does strike me as odd that we haven't put further effort into following up with that, and playing to our strengths.

Is it possible it couldn't be taken far enough to be effective without offending those who might not appreciate the Discworld connection being inflicted upon their town?
Posts: 1
Park Improvements Will Enhance Town as a Whole
Reply #3 on : Sat August 24, 2013, 17:29:46
I like your ideas Ian, and I agree that the park will be a lovely place; however I disagree with your sentiment that "it will be another out of town asset that will by its nature keep people out of town".

I think the recreation ground is very much a part of the town, a focal point for many people in fact. It's not the High Street, agreed, which I assume your comment refers to, but not every lovely feature in Wincanton needs to be in the town centre to have a beneficial effect.

Looking at the bigger picture, there's a general feeling of neglect throughout the whole of Wincanton, which is starting to make nice people who have something useful to contribute to the community not want to live here. It deters visitors too. This has a knock on effect on the town's economy, on the shops in the town centre and businesses on the estates.

Once projects like this one, albeit not in the town centre, have smartened Wincanton's public spaces, the whole town will become a nicer place to visit, to live in and to work in.

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