The Fun Begins at Ivydene Playground


IVYDENE playground in west Reading is now open for play ready for the October half term!

The play area, located next to Portman Road in west Reading, has been transformed over the summer thanks to an £92K investment.

Ivydene Playground

The new equipment has been designed for toddlers and children up to the age of twelve and provides a range of facilities for children of all abilities, including a giant pendulum rope swing, a ground level bouncing unit, colourful spinner bowls and an inclusive carousel roundabout.

A consultation in May put the choice of five playground designs to the public vote, including enlisting children at Wilson Primary School who voted using ballot boxes and voting slips to choose their preferred option.

Over 800 votes were received in total, with the winning design from Kompan, receiving over half of the votes. It was also overwhelmingly the favourite choice of the school children.

Children from Wilson School visited the playground on Tuesday 15th October to join in with the official opening celebration and to enjoy the new play facility they voted on.

School girls Annie White and Alicia Swallow, both age 10, said they loved the new playground: “It’s really fun! There is so much to do. It has stuff for big kids and young kids – for everyone!”

Cllr Karen Rowland, Reading’s Lead Member for Culture, Heritage and Recreation, said: “I’m delighted Ivydene is now open and ready for local children to enjoy during the October half term.

 “I’m really pleased that we were able to put such a significant sum into Ivydene.  It is one of our key priorities that we provide high quality equipment in as many of our playgrounds as possible so that children of all abilities can play together and we are delighted this design delivers so positively on that aspect. I also want to thank ward councillors, who I know were supportive of this project and understandably eager to ensure west Reading benefits from high quality play facilities.

“Understanding what our children want in terms of play spaces just makes common sense, and I’m really pleased we were able to engage local school children in voting for their favourite design – and it is great to see them having fun on the equipment today! Knowing how important accessibility is within our playgrounds I’m also happy we were also able to work into the budget an additional accessible carousel roundabout.

“Over the next three years we are set to invest £2.7M in Reading’s parks and playgrounds which is part of the Council’s capital investment programme, with just over £1.6 million of which will contribute to the expansion, replacement or upgrading of playground equipment in parks and play areas across the borough, including major investment at Reading’s two main parks, Prospect Park and Palmer Park.”

Funding for Ivydene’s improvements has come through developer contributions from local redevelopment.



Photos of the playground are available for use here

The new playground improvements include:

•          accessible surfaces leading up to the play area and the circulation space within the play area;

•          new gated entrances in the play area fencing in contrasting colour & tone for those with sight impairments;

•         a  clear design & easy navigation around the site;

•          colour accents on the facilities to give visual stimulation.

The new playground also features a range of exciting play equipment, including:

·         The unique design of a Supernova roundabout, which allows support from every angle, its sloped design offering a choice for a convenient and safe height for transferring from a wheelchair or mobility aid.

·         The Kompan bouncy unit which is accessible to wheelchair users and adds a thrilling bouncing or rocking experience for all children, accessible from ground level without wheelchair users having to transfer out of their chair.

·         A bird’s nest shell seat featuring a rubber bumper for a nice tactile grip and this also help prevents users from slipping out. The shallow seat allows easy transfer in and out again (users with low core strength can find it difficult to get out a deeply concave seat). The spaciousness supports various body positions: seated, lying, standing, kneeling and of course allows for multiple users. The seat also features grip handles to each side and drain holes for rainwater to pass out the centre.

For more information on Kompan visit

Community Infrastructure Fund

Funding for playground improvements across the borough have been secured by the Council from developers who made a contribution to the Council’s Community Infrastructure Fund.

Reading communities were consulted last summer on how money collected from local planning developments should be spent. The top ranked schemes, including Ivydene, were approved at the Council’s Policy Meeting on 26th November 2018

The Council’s Policy Committee agreed to invest in the play area at Ivydene, adjacent to Portman Road.  Other playground investment agreed includes:

·        £100K – Canal Way (replacing Avon Place play area)

·        £65K – Coley Recreation Ground, west Reading

·        £95K – Cintra Park, south Reading

·        £155K – Long Barn Lane Recreation Ground

In addition to the investment for leisure and play from the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) – the contribution developers, that has benefited Ivydene, the work complements the Council’s a wider £2.7M boost for Reading’s parks and playgrounds which is part of the Council’s capital investment programme over the next 3 years.

Just over £1.6 million will contribute to the expansion, replacement or upgrading of playground equipment in parks and play areas across the borough. With a focus on areas in most need of new equipment and a big drive on providing accessible equipment for children of all abilities, particularly in areas where there is little provision for children with disabilities.

Reading’s two main parks, Prospect Park and Palmer Park, are priorities for improvements to play equipment, including the provision or replacement of obsolete equipment for children with disabilities.  Park users and local residents will be consulted on the type of equipment they want to see.

View the full Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) report:

View the capital investment programme here:

Victoria Nickless

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