Hartlepool water play feature set for extended hours under new plans

Councillors are to consider extending the amount of time the water play area on the Headland is open for during the year.

Saturday, 11th January 2020, 6:00 am
Updated Sunday, 12th January 2020, 12:49 pm
The popular paddling pool on the Headland.

The paddling pool in the Headland is located on the lower promenade and consists of a small pool with stepping stones.

It currently opens for six weeks a year, to coincide with the summer school holidays.

Council chiefs are now recommending opening the Headland Paddling Pool as a pilot during the half term school holidays in May 2020.

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It came after councillors had previously asked about opening the Headland Paddling Pool and the Seaton water play area prior to the Easter school holidays.

Seaton water play area opened in 2018 and includes pressure pads spraying jets of water into the air for children to play in, and is open from 1st May until 30th September.

However council officers warned as the sites have to close for winter due to frost, opening as early as March or April for Easter could require extra work to protect the system from frost, due to unpredictable weather.

Therefore officers have instead recommended piloting having the Headland Paddling Pool open during the half term school holidays at the end of May, starting Monday, May 25, the second bank holiday in the month.

A report from Tony Hanson, assistant director for environment and neighbourhood services on the council, is to go before the Neighbourhood Service Committee for approval for the pilot.

He said: “This will allow officers to assess the proposals to open Headland Paddling Pool in May 2020 and to consider the benefits against the costs, and to determine whether this is a feasible option for future years, and if so, whether an earlier opening could be undertaken.

“It is recognised that the provision of free, accessible play sites is important for the development of children as they can provide both physical and social benefits.

“The main issue with opening the Seaton water play early is the possibility of a late frost.

“The system requires winterisation in late September, if there were freezing conditions, it could potentially damage the system if it was operational.”

The paddling pool has lifeguard cover while open which runs from 9.45am to 6.15pm and maintenance of the pool itself comprises of daily cleaning and water testing duties, including a weekly empty, pressure clean and refill.

It is anticipated the £4,000 additional cost of extending the opening times on a trial basis can be met from existing budgets.

A decision will be made on the proposal at the Neighbourhood Services Committee at the Civic Centre on Friday, January 17 at 11am.