New children's playground for Shorne Woods Country Park near Gravesend approved

A "wonderful" children's playground will be built at a country park thanks to an investment of £235,000.

Kent County Council's (KCC) planning committee has agreed to install a modern play area at Shorne Woods Country Park near Gravesend by summer 2022.

Shorne Woods Country Park. Credit: Playdale
Shorne Woods Country Park. Credit: Playdale

It will include slides, climbing and balancing equipment, cradle swings and a swing and roundabout suitable for wheelchair users.

Cllr Jackie Meade (Lab), who sits on KCC's planning committee, said: “This looks like a wonderful play park, absolutely fantastic and in the right place. I am really happy we have accessible equipment for the children.”

The park covers 292 acres of woodland, wetlands and meadows. It contains a visitor centre, cafe, garden, fishing lakes, picnic and play areas.

Historically, it was part of the medieval Cobham Hall Estate. The area was later used as an army camp during the Second World War.

Concerns were raised by Shorne Parish Council and some county councillors about parking.

A view from above. Credit: Playdale
A view from above. Credit: Playdale
There will be lots of physical challenges. Credit: Playdale
There will be lots of physical challenges. Credit: Playdale
Plenty of fun is planned. Credit: Playdale
Plenty of fun is planned. Credit: Playdale
Shorne Woods Country Park. Credit: Playdale
Shorne Woods Country Park. Credit: Playdale

Gravesham Rural county councillor Bryan Sweetland (Con), who supported the application, said: “My only concern is that parking and traffic levels can be a serious problem at the country park and surrounding roads.”

In a letter to the planning committee, the local member added: “The popularity of the park could mean local children have difficulty accessing the play equipment.

"More visitors, coupled with increased traffic, could lead to less biodiversity within the park."

However, KCC highways raised no objections to the proposal.

Benches will give parents somewhere to rest. Credit: Playdale
Benches will give parents somewhere to rest. Credit: Playdale
There will be slides and lots more. Credit: Playdale
There will be slides and lots more. Credit: Playdale
There will be lots to do. Credit: Playdale
There will be lots to do. Credit: Playdale

Talks are under way to install double yellow lines around KCC's nine country parks, including Shorne Woods, to make the area safer.

Parking at Shorne Woods costs £2.30 per day on Monday to Friday and £3.30 at weekends and bank holidays.

Meanwhile, the parish council and councillors called for the expansion of the car park and installation of more benches and bins in the playground.

Cllr Ian Chittenden (Lib Dem), KCC’s environment spokesman, said: “The benches seem a sensible suggestion so the parents can sit and watch.”

KCC officers said three benches are included in the proposal, with an intention to provide more in the grassed area near the play area, as a separate scheme.

Swings galore. Credit: Playdale
Swings galore. Credit: Playdale
Swings feature in the park. Credit: Playdale
Swings feature in the park. Credit: Playdale
Planners hope it will prove popular. Credit: Playdale
Planners hope it will prove popular. Credit: Playdale

Shorne Woods car park was expanded in 2006 and has capacity for 322 vehicles, six affected by construction.

Works are scheduled to begin at the end of April and are expected to last for a month.

The £235,000 being spent on Shorne Woods is part of an investment in improvements at the county's country parks worth £1.1 million, which KCC received in Public Health Covid-19 recovery funding.

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