Sheffield park will be tidy in time for dinosaur exhibition, council pledges

Norfolk Heritage Park in Sheffield, where a new playground is being created. Picture: Chris Etchells
Norfolk Heritage Park in Sheffield, where a new playground is being created. Picture: Chris Etchells
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A Sheffield park will look its best in time for a big ticketed event this month, the council has promised - despite parts being cordoned off and cluttered with construction materials while a £250,000 playground is built.

Work is under way to create a new 'woodland adventure play space' at Norfolk Heritage Park, replacing tired facilities that were worn out after 15 years of use.

A skip and builders' materials in Norfolk Heritage Park. Picture: Chris Etchells

A skip and builders' materials in Norfolk Heritage Park. Picture: Chris Etchells

Temporary wire fencing has been erected, sections of earth are dug up leaving mounds of rubble and concrete and a skip is on site, filled with pieces of wood and plastic sheeting.

In less than two weeks, over the Bank Holiday weekend, an outdoor exhibition called Jurassic Kingdom is coming to the park featuring more than 30 lifelike animatronic models of creatures from prehistory. Tickets for a family of four are £44 on the door.

But Sheffield Council says work on the playground is on track to be complete before the fortnight-long event opens on Saturday, May 26 - though visitors may not be able to use the new facilities straight away.

Construction began in February. Contractors lost several days because of poor weather conditions at the end of that month, but the project is still on schedule. Equipment is being installed and safety surfacing will be laid down in the coming days. Steps and a bridge will provide a better link through Jervis Lum wood to new houses nearby, and a public artwork to signpost the route is expected to be unveiled in autumn.

Wire fencing is up in Norfolk Heritage Park. Picture: Chris Etchells

Wire fencing is up in Norfolk Heritage Park. Picture: Chris Etchells

In the playground's old junior area, a bespoke climbing unit with a zip wire and boulder will take the place of the old wooden tower structure, while in the old toddler zone - now the family picnic area - there are new benches, swings, a trampoline and a bike track that will be tarmacked.

The new facilities need to be properly inspected and their safety certified before children can use them, however.

Councillor Mary Lea, the council's cabinet member for culture, parks and leisure, said: "The completion of the new Norfolk Park playground is scheduled to be before Jurassic Kingdom opens on May 26. However, the play area may not be fully operational by this time and we will be hosting a launch of this excellent new facility as soon as possible. The construction only affects a very small area of the park and will not impact on Jurassic Kingdom."

The council is investing £1.5 million from its public health budget in Sheffield's parks, with the aim of narrowing the gap between the city's healthiest and least healthy neighbourhoods.

Norfolk Heritage Park will be tidy when Jurassic Kingdom arrives, the council has said. Picture: Chris Etchells

Norfolk Heritage Park will be tidy when Jurassic Kingdom arrives, the council has said. Picture: Chris Etchells

Swings are being installed in the new playground. Picture: Chris Etchells

Swings are being installed in the new playground. Picture: Chris Etchells