22 April 2024

Salisbury River Park Project and Young People

The Salisbury River Park Project has been particularly interested in engaging young people in the process so that they can truly feel safe and make use of the new space.

The Salisbury River Park Project currently underway aims to reduce flood risk to existing homes and businesses, create wildlife corridors and improve biodiversity by connecting fragmented green spaces, improve the recreational and amenity value of the area and enable regeneration of key development sites.

Andy Wallis, the project lead, was happy to talk about the need for young people’s involvement “we want to engage the community in it as much as we can,” he said, “put in something people are going to be able to use and enjoy using.” He argues youth involvement is something that “should happen on every project”.

Current work site in Central Car Park

He mentioned how the project has spent time with South Wilts Grammar School and Sarum St Paul’s primary school, both of which within the vicinity of Fisherton Rec. From which they gained “amazing input and ideas” helping to develop aspects of the project.

He emphasised how SEND (special educational needs and disabilities) schools were also approached, helping to ensure they accommodate for all young people local to Salisbury. This led to the sensory area which will be set back from the main park and social spaces in Fisherton Rec and have less bright colours, feeling more calm.

The work is projected to be finished next April and be very significant for the surrounding environment, it will improve the area for various species including atlantic salmon. In fact, the playground will be based off of local wildlife habitats in order to educate and raise awareness of the species, for example the water vole.

Plans for the play park

There will be social spaces such as benches and willow tree seats that both replicate the environment and provide a practical purpose. To refine this they spoke to South Wilts Grammar School specifically to find ways that would help young women to feel safe in the area.

Following this, alterations such as the willow seats having two exits, and the circular, private benches being more spacious are expected to decrease anti-social behaviour and improve safety.

An idea for a willow seat. Photo from Zac Newham.
An idea for a bench being formulated by makespaceforgirls.co.uk

Th green space is both going to help improve wellbeing and mental health and also provide a home for over 1,000 new trees.

Foundations for the new road bridge in Central Car Park

The young people approached about the project have said they appreciate being directly asked about their opinions on a scheme that directly impacts them and have enjoyed being able to share their ideas to help create a welcoming, usable space.

Featured photo: https://www.salisburyriverparkphase1.com/the-scheme

Written by
Niamh Cunningham
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Written by Niamh Cunningham