Alnwick Gardens in Northumberland County is set become home to the largest play structure in the world. A full planning application for the Lilidorei Play Village has been submitted to the Northumberland County Council. In addition to this, the council has allocated an £8.5 million loan as part of its capital funding programme for 2017/18. The loan is set to be approved during a council meeting to be held on the 22nd of February.
The concept behind the play village is said to be that of a small settlement situated in a forest clearing. The fantasy play area is themed around elves and magic. A complex play structure will form the centre of the development surrounded by an earth embankment.
A World of Play
Around the central main structure will be smaller play areas for young children, as well as more complex playground equipment for older children. From the village square, small trails will lead to small wooden houses styled in the fashion of Arctic and Russian cabins. Facilities will also include a toilet block, Santa’s Grotto, a large events venue and a chapel which can host wedding ceremonies.
This new development is anticipated to stimulate tourism to the area, increasing the number of overnight visitors as opposed to the traditional day visitors. The facilities are intended to appeal to adults as much as they do to children and wheelchair access will make it attractive to disabled visitors.
A Collaborative Project
The project is a collaborative effort between the Duchess of Northumberland’s charitable trust and the local council, who have offered a loan of £8.5 million to fund the development of the project. The play village will generate funds for the charitable trust and boost growth in the local economy. Council officials have made it clear that servicing the loan will no impact on Northumberland ratepayers, as the loan will be repaid using funds generated from the play village project.
While the project is still in the planning phase and has yet to be finalised, there is great excitement within the local community. The play village will provide children from far and wide the opportunity for imaginative and fun play. The advantages of creative playgrounds are known to be as much in the educational experience as in the recreational. Children learn valuable skills whilst facing the challenges of the playground. The magical theme of the play village is bound to stimulate young minds and no doubt, their parent’s minds too.
As well as providing stimulating and educational fun for children, the new play village will also place the area on the tourist map, providing jobs and business opportunities for local residents, both in the building phase and even more so once the park is operational. It is clear why the council and Northumberland residents are both excited and proud of this project. It will draw visitors to the area, fund charity, increase the potential of local businesses and above all, provide a magical wonderland for children and adults alike. I’m sure that the people of Northumberland look forward to seeing the plans being approved and the project going ahead.