Work on Valley Gardens ‘fort’ begins

A delighted 22-month-old Eva Fox and her dad Richard, with Coun Caroline Bayliss and Adam Parnell of contractor EIBE, at the start of the rebuilding of the fort in the Valley Gardens. Picture by Adrian Murray. (1203191AM1)
A delighted 22-month-old Eva Fox and her dad Richard, with Coun Caroline Bayliss and Adam Parnell of contractor EIBE, at the start of the rebuilding of the fort in the Valley Gardens. Picture by Adrian Murray. (1203191AM1)

THE children’s ‘fort’ at the Valley Gardens should be repaired in time for the Easter holidays.

Contractors started work on Monday to replace the structure, which was destroyed in an arson attack in October.

Work will be finished on April 3, when the new facility is formally opened by the Mayor of Harrogate, Coun Les Ellington.

Harrogate Council’s parks team consulted on three options to replace the fort. Children and parents preferred the proposals put forward by Eibe Play Ltd, which will have a wobble bridge, climbing walls, monkey bars, rope bridges as well as the all-important slide.

Coun Caroline Bayliss, the council’s cabinet member for culture, said: “When the builders arrived on Monday to put up the fort, there were a number of children with sad faces because they can’t use the playground for the next two weeks.

“But we promise it will be worth the wait.

“Whenever a new piece of play equipment goes into one of our parks I always think about what a cost-effective investment this is.

“In terms of cost-per-use it must beat anything else the council spends money on. Let’s hope we have wonderful weather over the Easter holidays when all our children can test out the new fort and fill the Valley Gardens with happy faces.”

Harrogate Council has recently spent over £100,000 replacing worn-out play equipment in play areas across the district.

This funding has come from developer commuted sums allocated to improving play opportunities.

Sites include Roberts Crescent and Luchon play areas in Harrogate, Bishop Monkton play area, Spa Park and Millfield in Ripon and Stockwell play area in Knaresborough.

Three teenagers charged with the arson attack at the Valley Gardens appeared at magistrates court last week, where they pleaded not guilty.