Plans have been unveiled for a new play area for children at The National Museum of the Royal Navy in Hartlepool.
Proposals have been submitted by bosses at the museum based on Maritime Avenue to replace the existing play equipment after being in place for more than 15 years.
It is proposed that the existing play ship is replaced by a robust modern play space, including a new ship, at the same site with a design which offers ‘more inclusivity for wider audiences’.
A design and access statement submitted to the council planning department on behalf of Roslyn Adamson at the museum states the plans aim to offer more for visitors.
It said: “Visitors currently spend an average of three hours on site with visitor feedback telling us that there needs to be more for families to do in order to spend more time here, more regularly.
“In response we are proposing a package of interventions to enhance our family offer.
“The addition of new and improved interactive activity spaces will not only give families more to do, but improve interpretation for our younger audiences.
“Our existing playship is much loved, well used and referenced regularly in the positive visitor feedback we receive.
“Having been in place for more than fifteen years however, it is less accessible than modern equivalents and is suffering from irreparable wear and tear.”
The proposed new equipment would offer play opportunities for all ages ranges from 2+years.
The new playship would feature multiple decks at varying heights and would feature climbing opportunities as well as interactive play panels at ground level and sensory and disabled play facilities.
There would also be an accompanying scheme of ‘interpretation panels’ which would help children learn about the HMS Trincomalee’s story, a historic warship based at the museum.
The site would also include a carousel, a sea-saw and a hammock.
Plans state the play facilities will be accessible to audiences with different learning and physical needs and would incorporate the town’s heritage and enable children to learn through play.
Consultation sessions took place with a local SEND school and with family groups in addition to surveys being carried out with general day visitors to come up with the play facilities.
A decision is expected to be made on the plans by the Hartlepool Borough Council planning department in the coming months.
To comment on the application visit the Hartlepool Borough Council planning portal online and search reference number H/2019/0145.
Nic Marko , Local Democracy Reporting Service