NEW equipment is to be installed in a playground near a historic castle, replacing swings and slides in place since the 1960s.
All existing equipment in the children’s play area at Castle Dell, in Chepstow, in the shadows of the castle and next to the Town Wall, that is a scheduled ancient monument, will be replaced.
The boundary of the play area will also be slightly relocated from the wall with new play equipment, described as “accessible for all” will be installed in the area which is in private ownership but has been leased by the local authority since the 1940s.
An application for planning permission for the replacement and relocation of the existing children’s play area, made by Monmouthshire County Council’s Mon Life leisure service, was approved by the council’s planning committee on February 6.
Chepstow mayor Margaret Griffiths asked the committee to support the application which she said would “help us in Chepstow to improve our town”.
She said the town council supported it and it is aware “a majority of residents are in favour and that the existing play area is not meeting the needs of children.”
A play value assessment in 2019 highlighted deficiencies with the existing equipment.
The new play equipment will be made from hardwood products such as robinia though those with moving parts, such as the deck-level inclusive roundabout, will be made from steel.
A crow’s nest tower has been lowered to 3.4 metres, due to concerns of overlooking into gardens in Dell View, but a two metre high anti-climb screen will be erected on the southern part of the platform.
Planning officer Amy Longford said the houses are 10m from the town wall and that play area is being moved further away from it.
She said other concerns around possible ant-social behaviour, in the area of open space which is considered an important traffic free pedestrian route, linking the town centre with Lower Chepstow, were potentially “a matter for the police not planning”.
Welsh historic buildings body Cadw is also satisfied with the plans.
Bulwark and Thornwell Labour councillor Sue Riley said the area is adjacent to her ward and would be welcomed: “I have had many, many complaints from people who say there isn’t anywhere in Chepstow and they go to Bristol or south Gloucestershire for a suitable area for their children to play in the summer.
“This is absolutely perfect for the children of Chepstow.”
St Arvans Conservative Ann Webb described it as “an exciting project” and said: “I’m sure people from St Arvans will go there it seems to have some unusual stuff.”
Independent Meirion Howell said a similar play area in Usk had made it’s park a “thriving destination” and planning committee chairman, Caerwent Conservative Phil Murphy, said: “I can’t wait to go on the slide.”