Express & Star

New woodland children's play area plan for Himley Hall attraction

Young visitors to Dudley's Himley Hall and Park are in line for a new playground as part of efforts to attract more visitors.

In 2019 the Vintage Transport and Country Fair at Himley Hall and Park feared miniature railway rides

Site operator Dudley Council wants to create a new children's play area containing mainly timber play elements which will be installed in between existing trees at the Himley Road attraction in Himley, which is situated in neighbouring South Staffordshire.

Town hall officers are earmarking an overgrown area of estate land between a footpath and historic woodland near a disused tennis court and pavilion for the scheme.

The planning application to South Staffordshire Council states: "Dudley Council explored a number of potential locations within the park for the new play area this exercise was undertaken in consultation with Historic England and the conservation officer for South Staffordshire.

"Following a number of meetings it was decided that the wooded area currently being proposed would be the preferred option for a number of reasons.

"The desire to provide a play area within the park has been driven by the need to attract more visitors into the park and Hall which will in turn help support the business case of Himley Hall and Park remaining an open and free (not strictly free as car parking is charged) public park.

In 2022 crowds enjoying the Ibiza Proms at Himley Hall and Park.

"You will be well aware in this post-Covid environment and cost of living crisis of the challenges that are being faced by venues such as Himley Hall."

It further states: "The area in front of the former tennis court pavilion was originally considered, however, the play area would have been very visible from the main hall and from within the park, something the conservation officer advised would not be acceptable.

"It was therefore recommended on heritage grounds to push the proposed play equipment into the wooded area, while including the area in front of the former tennis pavilion as a potential picnic location; predominantly for parents/grandparents/carers looking after children playing on the park."

"This location would ensure that children can be seen playing while the responsible adult enjoys a coffee or picnic it will also bring the vacant tennis court area and pavilion back into sympathetic use. The council has seen other examples at National Trust properties where play equipment has been sympathetically placed in a woodland environment."

If the scheme is given the green light some vegetation clearance will be carried out in the wooded area which is home to invertebrates, such as hoverflies and beetles. The report states that surveys found 190 species but "no notable species".

Comments and objections should be submitted to South Staffordshire Council's planning unit by October 3. A decision on the plans will be made at a later date.

Other planning applications:

A transport enterprise has lodged an application to operate in Bilston. Joga Singh trading as Jagfateh Transport Ltd, of 25 Sandfield Road, in West Bromwich, wants to base two goods lorries and two trailers at Douglas Commercials Vehicle Repairs Ltd Unit, at 9B Stag Industrial Estate, in Oxford Street, Bilston.

Any objections should be made in writing to the Traffic Commissioner 386 Harehills Lane, Leeds LS9 6NF as soon as possible.

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