Design brief and project requirements for ‘Let’s Play’

Restoring Geldeston play area

The purpose of the document is to outline the objectives and requirements of the project and serve as an essential point of reference for both the client and the supplier.

let's playUsing the requirements specified in this document, the supplier can add their creative input and technical knowledge to produce design proposals and quotations for the client.  We would expect to establish continuous communication between the supplier and the project’s working group during the project’s development.

This brief has been developed by the project working group, using feedback from local residents and children.

This document is made up (see below) of the following sections:

Aims, Project Objectives and Design Principles, Location,
Key Audiences and Development of the Project


The aims of this project are:

  • to provide a new imaginative, physically challenging and coordinated play experience for the children in Geldeston, situated in the current space within the Kell’s estate in Geldeston.
  • to create an inspiring play space that will please, excite, challenge and stimulate the children’s imagination both of their own self-development as well as the surrounding natural environment.
  • to encourage children, young people and their families to take responsibility for looking after their local play area and promote  positive attitudes to children and young people in the community.
  •  to recognise the importance  of village and community life for children growing up in Geldeston, and provide a safe environment for  play, as part of our approach to a sustainable community in Geldeston.

Project objectives and design principles

[1] To create an exciting, fun and safe place for children to play.

[2] To incorporate the 10 principles for designing successful play spaces as set out in Play England’s publication Design for play: A guide to creating successful play spaces (2008).

[3] To follow the approach to risk management set out in Play England’s publication Managing Risk In Play Provision: implementation guide (2012), to ensure children are not exposed to unacceptable risk of harm, whilst still benefiting from challenging, exciting, engaging play opportunities.

[4] To provide a full range of play opportunities and experiences in order to appeal to various age groups and abilities (in line with the Disability Discrimination Act). The key attributes are expected to be:

    • free open access for all
    • a high level of accessibility and inclusive design
    • creative and inspiring spaces for play
    • a sustainable provision that can be maintained with the minimum of cost
    • an environment in which children can play freely and test their boundaries in a rich, imaginative way
    • designs that do not expose users to unacceptable levels of risk of serious injury

[5] To make the best, possible use of the existing play space and site assets, and effectively incorporate the current natural environment (eg as part of safe play, a conservation area, or to provide shade etc), in order to maximise the play opportunities for the children but also respect the rural character of Geldeston.

[6] To actively involve local children and their families in the design of the play area at all stages, and consult local residents and businesses on the opportunities and play facilities that are being considered.

[7] Wherever possible, to involve local children and families in the development and construction of the play area (eg, clearing, planting, painting etc).

[8] Consider maintenance, inspection and insurance regimes to protect the play area, and those who use it, for the future, involving the community in these regimes wherever possible.

[9] To use equipment/techniques which will help protect the play area against vandalism (eg fire, damage, theft).

[10] To use locally sourced products or local businesses, wherever possible.

[11] The Let’s Play working group to explore possible funding opportunities.


The play space is situated within the Kell’s housing estate in the village of Geldeston (approx. 170 households in the village). 13 further properties are currently being built on the housing estate in proximity to the play space.

The play space is approximately 34m x 50m, and slopes downwards, with uneven ground. There is currently some old equipment still on site (see photos).

play area 1

play area 2

play area 3

play area 4

Geldeston Parish Council have confirmed we can continue to use this space for our play area development, and there is no viable alternative location. Families are generally in agreement with this, as it is a quiet, safe, accessible area. One household on the housing estate, however, expressed their concerns about this area attracting youths, so the project group will look at other options/activities for older groups of young people to occupy them elsewhere.

There is an area of open space (grassed) adjacent to the play area, currently used as a football pitch but is uneven and slopes downwards. There are no alternative areas for ball games currently, as most of the grassed areas on the housing estate state ‘no ball games’ so as not to disturb neighbours. We have permission from South Norfolk District Council to include this grassed area in our improvement project, provided it continues to be used for this purpose and any installations are BSEN standard and maintained by Geldeston Parish Council.

Key audiences

We conducted a questionnaire to initially gain feedback on whether our residents were interested in maintaining and restoring a play area in the village. We had 31 responses in total from a mixture of parents with young children, parents with older children and retired residents – 29 of them were keen to keep the village play area and were interested in seeing improved facilities as part of the restoration, for example: play equipment, picnic area, benches, planting or communal garden mainly; other suggestions included visible dog waste bins, sensory equipment, exercise equipment and better signposting.

The questionnaire findings are currently on the Geldeston Parish Council website (click on “Parish Council meeting — Play Area findings” above 12th September 2018).

We recently asked children and their families what types of play equipment they like and their age, using a poll. 32 local children responded from the village summer fete and from Reception/Y1/Y2 classes at our catchment school, Gillingham St Michael’s Primary.

Their favourite equipment is shown as follows.

  1. Children and their families prefer
Item of equipment Nos in favour
Giant swings 28
Climbing frames 25
Activity centres 24
Seat swings 24
Slides 24
Roundabouts 24
Exercise equipment 23
Instruments 19
Spinners 19
Sensory, e.g. funnels 17
Spring animals 17
Baby swings 16
(seesaw, monkey bars, etc)

5 of the children also suggested a number of other things they might like:

  • see-saw
  • wobble board
  • rope swing
  • monkey bars
  • zip-wire
  • a path to cycle on/learn to cycle
    (like our neighbouring playground at Ellingham).

The age groups of the children who responded to the poll are as follows.

2. Age group of respondents

Age group %
1-3 (toddlers) 9
4-7 years old 72
8 and over 8

The lower proportions of older children and of toddlers that completed a poll means more research into types of equipment suitable for these age groups may be required.

Some older children have expressed an interest in actively helping with the design and development of the play area, and are so far being involved in this brief via their families who are on the project working group.

Development of the project

Part 1: Following an evaluation of offers, engage the supplier and agree the project brief.

Part 2: Develop proposed designs for public consultation including local residents, children and families, Geldeston Parish Council, and local businesses. (approx. 5 weeks consultation)

Part 3: Develop final designs, using feedback from consultation.

Part 4: Write a project plan, including the agreed play area designs, in order to apply for funding from appropriate bodies.

Part 5: Depending on the success of securing external funding, final designs to be ready for the construction of the play area. Installation timeline to be drawn up then.

Contact the project leads/working group

Version 1 (draft) 09/09/2018