The replacement for the fire-damaged play fort in Harrogate’s Valley Gardens was officially opened at 12 noon today, Tuesday, 3 April 2012. Harrogate Borough Council promised it would be replaced in time for the Easter holidays, a promise they are delighted to have met.
The popular centrepiece of the play area was burnt beyond repair in an arson attack on 8 October last year.
Although the council’s insurers covered most of the cost of the replacement, there was a slight funding gap because of the insurance excess requirement.
The council has said it is extremely grateful to the Friends of the Valley Gardens and Menwith Hill’s Community Heartbeat fund who generously donated £2000 to help plug the funding gap.
The fort was officially declared open by Councillor Les Ellington, Mayor of the Borough of Harrogate but the honour of cutting the ribbon went to Kian Clegg of Knaresborough who was so upset at the fire that he asked his mum to ‘take the money out of the bank’ to fund its replacement. His mum gently explained that this wasn’t possible but that they should have a baking day and raise money to put towards it. The cakes sold out and £30 was raised.
The council’s parks team consulted on three options to replace the fort. Children and parents preferred the proposals put forward by Eibe Play Ltd and the replacement centrepiece will be an even more exciting facility. It will have a wobble bridge, climbing walls, monkey bars, rope bridges as well as the all-important slide.
Not only is it bigger and better, the new fort has been designed with a more open aspect.
Harrogate Mayor, Les Ellington opens the new Valley Gardens play fort with Kian Clegg