Published Tuesday, 5th April 2022

A £1.5 million refurbishment of Merstham Recreation Ground is a step closer with the submission of a planning application by the Council for improvements to the park.

The application follows consultation and engagement with residents, sports organisations and local groups since autumn 2020 to get community input into initial designs, and feedback on the emerging plans.
CGI showing the new look Merstham Rec looking towards tha pavilion with planting and trees on the left and children's play area on the rightThe proposals include:
  • a new pavilion with a café kiosk, toilets and changing rooms
  • a new play area for children of all ages and abilities
  • youth facilities; an outdoor gym
  • a new network of paths to improve accessibility
  • a picnic area and community orchard
  • new trees and landscaping.

Green heart

The main facilities will be centrally located in a ‘green heart’ for users’ convenience and to retain plenty of open space for sports pitches.

The new play area will feature a variety of equipment for climbing, sliding, swinging, balancing and being creative. It will also include natural elements and sensory opportunities to provide a fun and challenging play experience for children at different stages of development. The play area is deigned to be inclusive and accessible, with the aim of being awarded PIPA (Plan Inclusive Play Areas) accreditation. An initial assessment indicates PIPA Gold Accreditation (the highest level).

A youth area for ages 12 and over will include a shelter and an exciting parkour course (designed with parkour specialists), providing something different to what’s already on offer for young people locally.

The pavilion will provide changing rooms (for two teams), a refreshments kiosk and toilets (including disabled and baby changing facilities). The building is designed to be environmentally sustainable and improve biodiversity and features solar panels and an ecological ‘green roof’.

There will be a new circular walking and fitness route around the edge of the Rec, and paths across it will give better all-weather access routes for residents.

The refurbishment will also include swales (grassed sunken channels) and water channel improvements to improve drainage, subject to funding, after it was raised in feedback.

Security will be enhanced through the design of the scheme, with open views, lighting on the new pavilion and increased activity.

Meeting local needs

Peter Boarder, Head of Place Delivery, said: “We asked the Merstham community about what they would like from a newly designed recreation ground last autumn, developed designs based on those views and continued talking to them as our plans developed to make sure they meet local needs.

“We are now applying for planning permission to bring those plans to fruition to provide much needed improvements to this important community space.”

The Council is also continuing to work with local community groups to identify funding opportunities for smaller components that are currently outside the scope of the funding for the current scheme, such as the refurbishment of the tennis and ball courts, works to the water channel and a new trim trail.

If planning permission is granted, the technical design will be developed and a contractor appointed to construct the scheme. It is anticipated that work will start later in 2022.

More information

The planning application can be viewed on the Council’s planning application search, using reference 22/00685/F.

For more information about the project, see the Merstham Recreation Ground refurbishment page.