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Go play at the pond, naturally

A £30,000 project funded by Waltham Forest Council, in partnership with the City of London, has delivered early on the promise to install natural play equipment at Hollow Pond on Leyton Flats.

A consultation was completed earlier this month to gauge the feelings of local residents about the type of equipment they wanted to see at the popular beauty spot.

Waltham Forest Council’s Open Spaces Strategy developed six designs, which local people fed back their comments on as part of a public consultation. Of the six designs that were put forward, three were chosen and installed on three sites around the edge of Hollow Pond.

The area that the new facilities have been sited is within the boundaries of Epping Forest, owned by the City of London. In addition, it is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), so it was important to protect the site and seek permission from Natural England for the addition of the play facilities.

Because of the special nature of the site, traditional play equipment was not suitable and natural play equipment was proposed instead. This fits in with the natural aspect of the forest, meets requirements regarding the SSSI, and provides benefits for the emotional and physical wellbeing of children.

“We’ve worked both with local residents and with partners to make sure the play equipment is both suitable and sensitive to the environment,” said Councillor Clyde Loakes, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Environment.

“It was planned that the play equipment would all be fully installed by early April, so to get it all in place by the end of February is a remarkable effort.

“Hollow Pond is a real attraction for local people and it is great that we have been able to enhance it still further with the addition of this play equipment.

“I’m sure local children will get a lot out of these new facilities and it will encourage even more residents to enjoy the pond and the forest. It’s a beautiful part of the borough.”

PHOTO: One of the three new pieces of natural play equipment installed at Hollow Pond.

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