This area has been designated as a L.E.A.P area by Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council some 12 years ago as part of the original planning permission given to Westbury Homes for residential development in Bagworth.
The National Playing Fields Association, Now Called The Fields In Trust, a recognized authority on playing fields, defines L.E.A.P as - Local Equipped Area For Play. Unlike a "Playing Pitch" defined as an area which is used for football, rugby, cricket, hockey, rounders, baseball etc., the LEAP is an area of open space specifically designated and laid out with features including equipment for young children in the age group 4 - 8 years old. The recommendations and bench mark for such play areas are, in brief, balance- rocking- climbing- sliding- social play. The play area should contain seating for parents, siblings and or carers. The area should contain a litter bin. The area should have adequate space around the equipment to enable young children to express their general exuberance, have imaginative and social play as "tag" "chase" "hide and seek" and the opportunity to play with materials such as sand and water.
The area should provide a suitable mix of areas for relatively calm relaxation and social interaction. The play area should have a buffer zone not less than 10 meters in depth, this zone should include planting to enable children to experience natural scents, colours and textures. The play area should have signage indicating - the area is solely for use by children - adults are not allowed unless accompanied by children - no dogs allowed - appropriate contact telephone numbers. Unfortunately the LEAP with all it's specification brief was never completed. According to Wikipedia in November 2005 Westbury received a £643 million takeover approach from Persimmon plc, which was accepted by the shareholders. In 2014 the Parish Council agreed to investigate the possibility of completing the unfinished works to bring the young children's play area up to a standard in line with the original brief of a LEAP. Following advice from the Borough Councils Senior Green Space Officer and a Professional Landscape Gardener on the characteristics of a LEAP, a number of initiatives were considered by the Parish Council.
Recommended Improvements To Jackson Road Young Childrens Play Area.
Additional Play Equipment - Seating - Landscape Planting - Signage.
1 ) To create a buffer zone including varied planting to provide a mix of scent, colour and texture. Biodiverse and attractive landscapes provide benefit, attracting young children to spend leisure time on the play area. Plants and trees have urban and suburban benefit, stabilising soil, preventing erosion, reducing water run-off and forming visual, wind and noise barriers, softening the built environment and can also provide shading to reduce solar gain.
2 ) The play area is designed to provide a stimulating and challenging play experience that may include equipment providing opportunities for balancing, rocking, climbing, overhead activity, sliding, swinging, jumping, crawling, rotating, imaginative play and social play, consideration to increase play equipment should be given.
3 ) Provide additional seating for accompanying adults, siblings and or carers.
4 ) There should be a sign indicating that the area and play equipment is for young children in the age range upto 8 years, and that dogs are not allowed on the play area. The name and telephone number of the facility operator should be provided with an invitation to report any incident or damage.
The above enhancement works being approved by Council following the competitive tendering process, have been carried out in stages with private funding and section 106 monies. The landscaping works have incorporated some interesting and attractive landscape features within the varying levels and contours of the play area, the landscaping has also taken account of young people and young people with diverse abilities and the integration of disabled people into the general experience of the play area by the introduction of raised borders and planters at each end of the play area, allowing those with varying disabilities to enjoy the sensory plants close up, those plants providing the criteria of scent, colour, sound and texture.
The landscaping works have also taken into account, added heritage features, balancing the environmental, economic and social criteria with contemporary design. Play is the medium of bringing young children together, by playing with other young children developing social skills, they learn about good behaviour, acceptance and friendship. Further works are planned with the introduction of additional equipment of fixed play, to create an environment which will stimulate young children's play, and cater for the needs of children with a range of abilities. Additional seating will be available for parents to be able to sit, watch and meet other people.