Published Monday, 15th March 2021
Following a consultation last autumn to get community feedback on ideas for a £1.5 million refurbishment of Merstham Recreation Ground, we have appointed a design team to develop the plans further.
The proposals included a new pavilion, better play facilities for children of all ages and abilities, a community garden, wildlife areas, improved paths for accessibility and better parking.
The Council received over 650 responses to its survey from Merstham residents telling how they use the Rec at the moment, what they liked and disliked about it, and what they would like to be included in the new-look park.
New play facilities for children, including older children and teens, came out as the top priority for people in the survey results. Accessibility was a key theme and the new playground will be designed to meet the Play Inclusive Play Area (PIPA) standard. Many local people would like to see a café or other refreshments facility included in the plans – though not all agree – so this is something that is being considered instead of the proposed community room. Improved seating, shaded areas and places to picnic were also popular suggestions.
It was very clear from the survey replies that Merstham Rec is an important community space for exercise, play and leisure, to connect with nature, to meet friends, for fresh air and enjoy time being alone. This is especially the case for local residents who might not have their own gardens.
The Council also carried out further work with local sports groups and clubs to assess what sports facilities could be delivered at the Rec. Following feedback received, the project team is also looking at improving existing grass football pitch provision and working with partners to reintroduce cricket to the Rec.
Drainage issues affecting people’s enjoyment of the park was also raised, which will be looked at as part of the design development.
The feedback from the consultation has been incorporated into the brief for the landscape designers, Turkington Martin.
Shaping the plans
Cllr Richard Biggs, Executive Member for Planning Policy and Place Development, said: “We received a fantastic response our consultation. Thank you to everyone to took part to tell us what you think; it has really helped us to shape our ideas and plans.
“We are looking at the ideas put forward and will be working with the design team and local people over the next few months to progress the plans further to make sure the park provides access for all, opportunities for improved wellbeing, ways to help people be active, and continue to be a valued asset for the community.”
Further engagement with members of the community will take place over the coming months, such as though online focus groups, to help input to and refine the design.
Another public consultation will take place on the plans later in 2021, prior to submission of a planning application for the improvements. Works are expected to start in March 2022, subject to the planning and tender processes.
See the Merstham Recreation Ground refurbishment page for more information on the project and to see the consultation feedback.