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King’s Head Meadow campaigners mark a year since sit-in saved Wymondham play park

PUBLISHED: 10:57 09 August 2017 | UPDATED: 10:57 09 August 2017

Parents, children and supporters at King's Head Meadow last year, after a fence was put up.  PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

Parents, children and supporters at King's Head Meadow last year, after a fence was put up. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

ARCHANT NORFOLK

A group of campaigners are marking a year since a protest to save a play park in their town made national headlines.

The front page of the EDP from August 8, 2016, featuring the King's Head Meadow protest. Picture: ArchantThe front page of the EDP from August 8, 2016, featuring the King's Head Meadow protest. Picture: Archant

The King’s Head Meadow Playscape Group are hosting a picnic at the Wymondham park today (Tuesday, August 8) to celebrate the anniversary of the protest, which started after Wymondham Town Council voted to have some pieces, known as the Playscape, removed.

It followed complaints from residents of nearby Orchard Way about noise and anti-social behaviour there.

Kate Buckoke, one of the campaigners, said: “I still can’t believe what happened a year ago.

“It was one hell of a week and then some.

The King's Head Meadow playscape was discussed for hours at June's Wymondham Town Council meeting. Picture: Stuart AndersonThe King's Head Meadow playscape was discussed for hours at June's Wymondham Town Council meeting. Picture: Stuart Anderson

“Our teenagers and children have played a key part in this long campaign and done the town proud.

“We hope to see many of them here today enjoying this Playscape and park.”

READ MORE: Removal of play equipment at Wymondham play area suspended and fences set to be removed

A group of adults and their children occupied the play area when they got wind contractors were about to move in to remove the equipment - which was installed in 2014 at a cost of £75,000.

After the first day, the council had a high fence installed around the play park overnight, but the campaigners simply moved it aside and carried on the protest.

Parents, children and supporters protesting at King's Head Meadow, Wymondham, in August last year. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAYParents, children and supporters protesting at King's Head Meadow, Wymondham, in August last year. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

After several more days the council gave way, and following extensive consultations it voted in June to have the play area remodelled at its current location, with the hope of addressing nearby residents’ concerns.

The decision was based on a report by Play England, which recommended removing a fence around the play equipment and expanding its overall area so the activity - and noise - was not so focused in one spot.

The protest was covered in nationals including the Daily Mail and was featured on the front page of the Eastern Daily Press.

Jemma Melton, a teenager who was also involved in the protest, said: “We wanted to celebrate a year of keeping the park we have grown so fond of in its rightful place.

Parents, children and supporters protesting at King's Head Meadow, Wymondham, in August last year. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAYParents, children and supporters protesting at King's Head Meadow, Wymondham, in August last year. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

“We have come so far and I’m so proud of us all, and for that reason I thought we should celebrate a community coming together.”

A progress report on the remodelling plans is due to be made at the next town council meeting at September 5 at Wymondham’s Central Hall.

READ MORE: Wymondham’s King’s Head Meadow campaigners celebrate a victory in fight to save playscape

Police, councillors and the contractors watch the families and people from the Wymondham community protest at the attempt to remove play equipment from King's Head Meadow. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYPolice, councillors and the contractors watch the families and people from the Wymondham community protest at the attempt to remove play equipment from King's Head Meadow. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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