Harlow Council is to build five new Splash Parks over the next two years.
Last night (19 July 2018) Cabinet agreed to fund a major upgrade programme of the town’s five existing concrete paddling pools.
Paddling pools in Bush Fair, Norman Booth (Old Harlow), Staple Tye, Sumners and the Town Park will be replaced by Splash Parks which will be built on the existing sites. Currently the town has one very popular Splash Park at Potter Street.
The new Splash Parks will be built in a staged replacement programme over the next two years and as well as being open to the public for longer than the current six week holidays, they will have lower maintenance and running costs than the paddling pools.
Splash Parks are run on recirculated water which is filtered and treated with chlorine to ensure that they are clean and safe. They provide a safe and fun activity for children 12 years and under and they can be switched on and off in line with the weather forecast, something many would have valued in the recent hot weather.
Councillor Eugenie Harvey, Portfolio Holder for Community and Wellbeing, said:
“It’s no exaggeration to describe Harlow’s five paddling pools as ‘iconic’. They’re one of the first things people mention when we ask them what they love about our town and we often hear of parents who played in them as small children bringing their own children to play in them today.
“For this reason, we’re very excited to announce this investment which will see the existing facilities upgraded to modern Splash Parks. Not only will these new facilities offer an improved experience, they will be cheaper to run, safer to manage, better for the environment and available for use for considerably longer.
“Splash Parks have proven to be extremely popular in other areas and we’re excited to offer our residents this experience on their own doorsteps. Every child will have the opportunity to enjoy a wonderful summer holiday even if they do not leave Harlow; a day at the Splash Park will be completely free of charge.
“Later this month we will announce our new Health and Well-being strategy through which we hope to get every resident out and about enjoying the fresh air and natural beauty of our town. The Splash Parks, which are all located within playgrounds and parkland, will make a wonderful destination for a family picnic or day long outing."
Cabinet agreed to put aside £750,000 from an underspend in the Council’s budgets for 2017/18 and it will use other receipts it holds to fund the splash parks initiative. The initiative will be put out to competitive tender and the project will begin after this year’s paddling pool season.