Lochshore Community Play: Kilbirnie Concept Workshop
Dress for the Weather and Urban Pioneers, in partnership with North Ayrshire Council and Garnock Connections, are currently working on designs for new play structures in Kilbirnie Public Park, Dalry Public Park and Orr’s Trust Public Park, Beith.
As part of the on-going engagement process we recently delivered the last of our planned public workshops. This workshop looked at combining the ideas from the previous two workshops as well as refining them into a concept for the play structure.
A summary of the concept at this point is included below:
Within Kibirnie Public Park it was noted that there was a lack of variety in terms of the type of space offered – the park is mostly cut grass. Although it was noted that an attempt to bring wildflowers has been made; and the park does have a ‘wilder’ edge as a barrier to the housing.
The topography of the site was discussed; and locating the installation in the basin of the park would be valuable for visual connections across what is quite a big area.
We also felt being on the desire line between the co-op and memorial gate and the housing to the west of the park would encourage more incidental use.
The site is therefore currently proposed to be located within one of the wedges formed where the paths all meet, north-east of the picnic benches.
It was felt that, generally, this play installation shouldn’t duplicate any of the current play within the park – playground equipment, multi-use games court and football pitch. As such the installation should look more at ‘free play’ by providing a flexibility of use, but interesting space to explore and play.
It was also felt that the installation could complement the football pitch, or walking/jogging routes by being more centrally located in the park.
Another idea that was mentioned is that by having a focal, or gathering, point at this part of the park might open up the space around for families to congregate and play together.
This was a topic that came across strongly in all the workshops across the towns. The current thinking is we should explore the potential to influence and discuss the wider ambition for plant varieties and biodiversity within the park with the relevant stakeholders.
We talked about tree species and introducing more colour though planting.
It was also noted that there is potentially an opportunity in the materials used to reflect the wider landscape and geology of the Garnock Valley. We did talk about historic industries, and there is potential to reflect these here; but we were also drawn to comments about local quarries and landscape – and also looking at a more natural palette of materials to link to the Lochshore development.
We discussed a layer of local heritage interpretation being incorporated.
The concept is to introduce a ‘hard’ central layer, shown in black in our plans. This would be a structure designed to be flexible – to allow seating, free play, gathering.
This would be linked to the wider park via a ‘green’ layer of planting that would either wrap or weave around this ‘hard’ layer.
Lastly, it was suggested that some shelter would be desirable; but agreed that a built canopy/structure was not desirable. We would therefore explore the opportunity for tree planting at the site, with the intention of eventually having shelter.
Moving forward we will be preparing concept designs for public comment. Details of this will be shared in due course.