£6.6m project sees accessible toilet and play equipment installation

Meriden SwingAccessible parks like this one in Watford are gaining increasing demand. Photo credit : Simon Jacobs

Accessible toilet facilities and play equipment for children with disabilities are being installed as part of the £6.6m restoration of Cassiobury Park in Watford.

A £20,000 Changing Places toilet complete with hoist and changing bench will feature at the park in addition to a host of accessible children’s play equipment, due to open in Spring.

The project will include a new ‘splash park’ featuring raised ‘push buttons’ for children in wheelchairs to control the water flow and flat surfaces so children with disabilities can enter the water.

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In addition to the ‘splash park’ and Cassiobury Park Hub, costing £2.8m, the council committed £100,000 towards disabled-friendly facilities at the nearby playground. The new features will include an interactive and sensory play area aimed at children with sensory difficulties, and a roundabout designed for children in wheelchairs.

The Cassiobury Park refurbishment has been funded partly by the Heritage Lottery and Big Lottery Funds (£5m) and partly by Watford Borough Council (£1.6m).

It is hoped that the development will be completed by the Spring

In addition to Cassiobury Park, the council has installed a £40,000 inclusive area of play equipment for disabled children at Meriden Park and has upgraded Callowland Recreation Ground to be more accessible.

Watford Borough Council indicated continued commitment to disability facilities and equipment as it announced plans to its play areas assessed by Plan Inclusive Play (PiPA) so it can make any necessary changes to improve accessibility.

Play equipment for disabled children is increasingly a source of investment for councils who are under growing pressure to improve accessibility for all members of the community.

Recently, a council in South Wales announced a £600,000 project aimed at bringing accessible play equipment to parks in the local area.

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