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Environment

Your views needed: Providing sustainable water-based play facilities in Elmbridge

Your views needed: Providing sustainable water-based play facilities in Elmbridge

Survey open until 30 November

We have a vision of a sustainable and thriving Elmbridge. We want Elmbridge to be a great place to live, work and play.

The ‘play’ aspect of our vision is especially important for our children and young people. We all know that for their physical and mental wellbeing, our children need to be outdoors playing with their friends and families and Elmbridge Borough Council has a role in that wellbeing.

We will always provide opportunities for play in the many parks, recreation grounds and open spaces we provide and maintain across the borough. Over the years we have consulted with and listened to parents and carers to ensure our play facilities are fun and engaging for children and it is in that spirit of co-creating that we are asking again for your views on water-based play in Elmbridge.

We want water-based activities to be part of our Play Strategy, but the three water play facilities in Elmbridge (two paddling pools in Weybridge and a splash pad in Hersham) are no longer environmentally sustainable. The paddling pools at Oatlands and Churchfields recreation grounds for example, are emptied daily requiring approximately 21,000 litres of water per facility each day. Jointly that is equivalent to almost 1.8 million litres over the course of the summer holidays. This is almost the equivalent in size to an Olympic sized swimming pool (2.5 million litres).

Improving and modernising not removing

This consultation seeks your views on sustainable water-based play facilities for our children and young people as part of our Play Strategy.

The two paddling pools were originally built in the 1940s and are now dated.

The splash pad, Hersham Recreation Ground, although popular and open for longer, is also becoming more costly to maintain and has been closed twice this year due to safety concerns. The current safety surfacing is reaching the end of its life and will need replacing soon.

Help us to consider how these water play facilities fit into Elmbridge’s sustainable and thriving future.

Councillor Janet Turner, Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture encourages all residents to take part in this consultation:  “We understand the paddling pools and splash are popular destinations in the summer however in their current condition, they are costly to maintain and operate.

“I must reiterate that we do not intend to remove any equipment. We will look into improving instead. We want to be open with our residents and to make sure everyone has all the details and background they need to provide informed responses to the consultation.

“It is important that we get as many responses as possible; please do share the survey with your friends and community groups. Your views are important to us.”

What you should know about Elmbridge’s paddling pools and splash pad

  • The 2 paddling pools are open for 6 weeks of the school summer holidays each year (mid-July to early September)
  • Each of the paddling pools take 4-5 hours to fill and as such opens at around 12.30pm each day.
  • These are emptied daily requiring approximately 21,000 litres of water per facility each day. Jointly that is equivalent to almost 1.8 million litres over the course of the summer holidays. This is almost the equivalent in size to an Olympic sized swimming pool (2.5 million litres)
  • The two paddling pools account for 1.98 tCO2e* (1,880 kgCO2e) from water and electricity usage of a pump
  • The splash pad offers greater flexibility as it is activated by sensors and does not require daily filling or supervision, so it can open for a longer period: 9am – 7pm each day, from late May to early September.
  • It uses 29,400 litres of water on average each day

* tCO2e : tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent

Survey details

The survey is open from Monday 17 October to end of day Wednesday 30 November.

Frequently asked questions

I have heard that EBC is closing the paddling pools and splash pad?

We want water-based activities to be part of our Play Strategy but the three water play facilities in Elmbridge (two paddling pools in Weybridge and a splash pad in Hersham) are no longer environmentally sustainable.

The paddling pools at Oatlands and Churchfields recreation grounds for example, are emptied daily requiring approximately 21,000 litres of water per facility each day. Jointly that is equivalent to almost 1.8 million litres over the course of the summer holidays. This is almost the equivalent in size to an Olympic sized swimming pool (2.5 million litres).

This consultation seeks views on sustainable water-based play facilities for our children and young people as part of our Play Strategy.

Why are you considering closing or replacing the paddling pools and splash pad if they are popular destinations?

We understand that families and children enjoy their time at the paddling pools, and we want water-based activities to be part of our Play Strategy. Paddling pools are popular in hot weather like we have had this summer. However, there are fewer visitors in cooler weather. Paddling pools are filled daily, and the splash pad is in use despite the variable summer weather. Please tell us what you think. Take part in the survey. This will help us make a balanced decision based on meeting local play needs and long-term sustainability.

How can Elmbridge Borough Council justify the energy and water usage in keeping the paddling pools and splash pad open?

This consultation seeks views on sustainable water-based play facilities for our children and young people as part of our Play Strategy exactly because we know the three water play facilities in Elmbridge (two paddling pools in Weybridge and a splash pad in Hersham) are no longer environmentally sustainable.

I would like water activities but in a more environmentally friendly way – is that possible?

We understand the fun that can be had at the paddling pools and splash pad on a hot day. We don’t want to take that away from our residents, but we are also very mindful of environmental costs of the water and energy use of these facilities, especially considering their age.

We have been and will continue to research water-based play facilities that are more sustainable. Some providers suggest recycling water for example, but we also to consider the public safety aspects of such an option.

I have heard that the current water activities could be managed more sustainably, is that true?

The two paddling pools were originally built in the 1940s and are now dated. The splash pad at Hersham Recreation Ground, although popular and open for longer, is also becoming more costly to maintain and has been closed twice this year due to safety concerns.

We want water-based activities to be part of our Play Strategy, but the three water play facilities in Elmbridge are no longer environmentally sustainable.

The paddling pools at Oatlands and Churchfields recreation grounds for example, are emptied daily requiring approximately 21,000 litres of water per facility each day. Jointly that is equivalent to almost 1.8 million litres over the course of the summer holidays. This is almost the equivalent in size to an Olympic sized swimming pool (2.5 million litres).

We looked at various options to convert existing paddling pools to make them more efficient through water recycling. So far, we have yet to find a sustainable solution to recycle grey water. The options we have found so far would mean adding machinery and increasing carbon footprint. The greywater collected could have no other use than to water plants/shrub/flowerbeds and there is no requirement or need for greywater in our green spaces.

I have heard that splash pads are more environmentally friendly than paddling pools, is that true?

It is true that splash pads offer greater flexibility as they are activated by sensors and do not require daily filling or supervision and as such can be open for a much longer period. However, they are slightly less efficient (in an overall year) and environmentally friendly than the traditional paddling pools.

The splashpad uses around 30% more water than a paddling pool in the six-week summer holiday. The water in the system is designed on a “once used” basis meaning that water does not re-circulate back through the water jet system. The unit contains a 3,400L reservoir tank which is topped up from the chlorinated mains water supply. Used water is disposed of via the splash pad waste drain. It is not recycled as it is chlorinated.

If the water activities in the park close, what can I do with my children on hot days in the summer?

Elmbridge offers a variety of parks and play areas for children and families to enjoy all year round. You could also consider swimming at the Xcel in Walton-on-Thames or Hurst Pool in Molesey, both of which offer family swims and concessionary pricing.

I would like a water activity in the park close to me; how can I ask for that?

Please use the survey to let us know your views. There is a section for comments, and you can add to that. 

I would like the water activities to be open more often, how can I ask for that?

Please use the survey to let us know your views. There is a section for comments, and you can add to that. 

I cannot always afford to bring my children to the beach or the on holiday, I would like the paddling pools and splash pad to remain but in an environmental way.

We understand the fun that can be had at the paddling pools and splash pad on a hot day. We don’t want to take that away from our residents, but we are also very mindful of environmental costs of the water and energy use of these facilities, especially considering their age.

We have been and will continue to research water-based play facilities that are also sustainable. Some providers suggest recycling water for example, but we also to consider the public safety aspects of such an option.

Why are the paddling pools and splash pad in Weybridge and Hersham only? Can we also have water play in other areas?

If you would like a water activity at a park near you, please use the survey to let us know your views. There is a section for comments, and you can add to that. 

 

 

 

 

 

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