Playground Works Update

Friendly Reminder: Please Respect the Cordon

Works will be underway from the 29th of April and throughout May on the Playground Area, with the hope for a soft opening before the start of June.

Whilst works are underway the area around the playground, shed, compound, and surrounding path has been cordoned off with plastic mesh fencing, and signage making clear only authorised persons may enter the area.

This cordon is to protect residents, ensure the safety of contractors onsite, and prevent any of the play equipment or surfacing being damaged during curing/setting periods.

The Committee recognise the sight of new play equipment will be tempting to Children, though keyholders must ensure they, their children, and/or any guests respect the cordon and do not enter this area until the fencing is removed. Any keyholder found to have violated the corden will have their access to the garden suspended until works are complete, and may be held liable for any damage done to the playequipment / playground surfacing.

We look forward to opening the area as quickly as possible.


April: New Soakaway Installed, Play Area Outlined and Levelled, New Compound Gates Installed, and 10 Tonnes of Type 3 MOT delivered

New Soakaway: Having uncovered the old Macadam Path between the shed and the South Gate, the committee discovered a drain that serviced some 30sqm of path, led to a poorly constructed drainage pit filled with old bricks (but no membrane to prevent it filling with soil), right under the proposed play area.

To protect the future play area’s surface integrity, and make better use of the drainage water, Tom (Garden Secretary) and Abilio (Garden Porter) have installed a soakaway drain to the planned flowerbed under the Glossy Privet tree. The new soakaway will redirect the water from the path to these flowerbeds, and has an access hatch to allow for any dirt/debris flushed from the path to be removed in future.

The Play Area outline is now complete and levelled, ready for the playground installer to being work on April 29th.

New Compound Gates were installed on the North Side of the compound where the rust jacked section of wall was removed. The new gates improve the Garden’s access from 1.2m (historically) to 2.2 meters. Allowing for materials and any future equipment for the Garden to be takens through to the garden directly from the road.

The Gates and Compound as a whole will be (re)painted at the completion of the Playground Works.

10 Tonnes of Type 3 MOT was delivered to the Compound Ahead of works by Ashville Aggregates via a Grab Lorry. This method was 75% cheaper than using Grab Bags, and the new gates make it easy to move the Type 3 MOT from the compound to the Play Area, where it will be used to fill the Soil Stabilisation Grid.

March: Old Swing Footing Discovered in Play Area, Removed, Along With Rusty Metal from Old Mesh Fencing Along the Railings

Old Swingset Footing Discovered: In the process of levelling the Play Area, Abilio discovered a 100kg+ footing from the old Swing Set, removed in c.2008. This footing would have prevented the installation of new equipment, and as such needed to be removed.

Tom and Abilio rented a jackhammer / breaker and broke up the footing, and removed the rubble as part of a skip collection.

Removing the old Rusting Perimeter Fence Parts: With access to a jackhammer Tom and Abilio were able to remove 22 bits of rusting, jagged metal from along the railings. These rusting L-sections used to form part of the perimeter fence, that was removed as part of the railings project in c.2019. Why the (now liquidated) contractor saw fit to leave these jagged bits of metal exposed along the outer beds is anyones guess, though it has been an open remediation point for the Committee for some time, who are grateful to see Tom and Abilio remove these hazards.

February: Old Play Equipment Torn Down, New Installer Selected to Deliver Project

Old Play Equipment Demolished: Tom, Abilo and Colin C were able to demolish the old Play Equipment in early Feburary. It was originally the committee’s intention to recycle some of the wooden posts to make a new notice board in the playground. Unfortunately the extent of rot in the Play Structure was far worse than anticipated, and as a result the majority of wood (save for two posts from the Swing Structure) had to be scrapped. New posts will likely be used for the noticeboard, to improve the look and reduce any risks of failure.

New Installer Selected to Complete Works: Throughout January and February Gary and Tom had been discussing the planned installation with HAGS, unfortunately we grew increasingly concerned that the team were no confident installing on a soil stabilisation grid (as Tree Protection Rules require), and chose to activate a break clause we had inserted in the contract.
Instead, the Committee have now asked AVA Recreation to complete the installation. AVA are a specialist installer of professional play equipment, including HAGS. They were a shortlisted company in the Section 20 process, and one of the few that showed confidence around soil stabilisation grids. Whilst the installation cost has increased slightly, the Committee have made savings elsewhere in the project to remain on budget, and within the scope of the existing Section 20 Approval.

January: Rust Jacking in Compound Wall Addressed

The Compound Wall originally had a mech fence around its perimeter, supported by L-Sections build into the wall. At some point in the last 20 years the old mesh fence was cut away (flush with the top of the wall), and a new wooden fence (from Jacksons) installed. Unfortunately rather than correctly capping the L-section burried in the wall (removing a layer of bricks, cutting the L-section flush with the lower layer, then replacing the bricks above), the contractor cut the metal flush. 

As a result over the years water has penetrated the L-Section, which has rusted, and in doing so, cracked the wall in several places (a process known as rust jacking).

The Committee have long realised the compound suffers a few design flaws:

Access Width: The compound had a 3m opening to the street, but only a 1.2m opening to the Garden, meaning any pallets and mechanical equipment can’t be carried straight through to the Garden.

Useless Space: As both the gate to the street, and gate to the Garden were on the far west side of the compound, the space at the back of the compound often became wasted. This was especially true whenever a skip was placed in the compound, rendering more than half the compound inaccessible and useless.

The solution coincided with the Rust Jacking remediation, namely, remove the most cracked section of the North Wall, and replace it with a large leaf gate, providing access to the East half of the compound even if a skip is placed in the west half, and increasing the access width-restriction into the Garden from 1.2m to 2.2m.

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