Project: Stockport Play Area Review


Client: Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council

Pleydell Smithyman Limited was asked to undertake a strategic review of play area provision across Stockport Borough.

Stockport Council currently has a portfolio of 135 play area across the Borough, which provide a range of play facilities for children of all ages. However, the provision of play areas is not a statutory service and in an era of cuts and limited resources the Council sought to develop a strategy to realistically consider the provision of play areas in the future to ensure that it continues to provide safe, accessible, quality and fun play area provision.

The Play Area review was undertaken in the following stages:

  • A baseline assessment of existing provision and the strategies and policies which impact on play areas.
  • Consultation and engagement with key stakeholders.
  • A play space audit to understand the quality, value, accessibility and contribution of existing provision.
  • A needs assessment to evaluate the local demand for play in a national and local context.
  • A risk benefit assessment to consider how play areas can balance risks and benefits to provide inspiring and fun play experiences.
  • Informed and strategic recommendations for the future.

The process brought together the findings of the audit, desktop research and consultation with stakeholders to consider the provision of play areas at a lower super output area (LSOA), ward and borough level. This enabled us to understand the potential impact of changes to provision and put forward a series of informed recommendations for the future.

The review has since been used by the Council to secure £615,000 funding for improvements to 10 play areas which were identified as being in need of investment.