First look at Alresford play park designs

The plans for a 44-acre children's play park have been revealed by owners Susie and Will Marsden Pic

The plans for a 44-acre children's play park have been revealed by owners Susie and Will Marsden Picture: CONTENTSOUP - Credit: Archant

Exclusive designs for a proposed play park on a 200-acre estate in Essex have been revealed.

One of the indoor play areas will have a large boat extending from the side Picture: CONTENTSOUP

One of the indoor play areas will have a large boat extending from the side Picture: CONTENTSOUP - Credit: Archant

The planning application was submitted to Tendring District Council in December 2019, covering 44 acres of land, including brownfield sites previously used for agriculture.

The development will neighbour a trail through nearby woodland and the plans outline several different 'enchanted' play areas for children under the age of 12, including a castle, a dragon-themed water play area, labyrinth and a wishing well.

Applicants Will and Susie Marsden also own Alresford Hall, the 10-bedroom, 10-bathroom stately home next to the proposed park.

The brownfield site around Alresford Hall, home to Mr and Mrs Marsden and their four children, will

The brownfield site around Alresford Hall, home to Mr and Mrs Marsden and their four children, will be converted into several different play areas Picture: CONTENTSOUP - Credit: Archant

Mr Marsden said: 'We are meeting an identified shortage for family attractions in this locality, creating jobs and bringing opportunities for local suppliers.


You may also want to watch:


'If approved, we will be boosting the local tourism economy by attracting more people to the area and encouraging them to stay longer.'

As well as Mr and Mrs Marsden running the park, the application shows another 13 full-time and part-time jobs could be created if approved.

Sixpenny Brook and The Quarters, which was painted by John Constable in 1816. Susie and Will Marsden

Sixpenny Brook and The Quarters, which was painted by John Constable in 1816. Susie and Will Marsden are proposing to build a children's play park nearby Picture: GOOGLE MAPS - Credit: Archant

Most Read

A 150-space car park will also be built, with access from the B1027 to Colchester.

Mrs Marsden said: 'This will be a magical outdoor, active and inspirational play experience for families, created and operated by us.

'Children will have fun connecting with each other in nature and the enchanted woodland setting, which is so important for their health and wellbeing.'

The Quarters Behind Alresford Hall, painted by John Constable in 1814. Close to the proposed childre

The Quarters Behind Alresford Hall, painted by John Constable in 1814. Close to the proposed children's play park, the 'little fishing house' - as described by Constable in his letters - is still in perfect condition more than 200 years later - Credit: PUBLIC DOMAIN

Mrs Marsden added: 'The feedback we've had so far and during the consultation phase has been overwhelmingly positive and the experience will be unique as there is nothing similar in the area.

However, the plans have proved divisive, with more than 150 public comments left on the application.

More than half of the comments are objections.

Those opposing it are concerned the park will damage the ecology and environment, as well as impact on the historical importance of the hall and nearby listed buildings - including the 19th century fishing hut, The Quarters, once painted by John Constable.

Frating resident Linda Hayes said: 'The beautiful house is surrounded by ancient woodland with wonderful flora and fauna, all in a tranquil setting.

'A theme park would create noise and light pollution totally unacceptable to residents in the area.

'The thought of such a rare area being lost forever is both vulgar and unnecessary.'

Tom Glover, co-owner of Thorrington Mill on Alresford Creek, added: 'I am concerned about the additional volume of traffic envisaged.

'It cites a maximum of 600 visitors a day, but there would also be staff vehicles and deliveries as well.

'The access road to the site is not suitable in its present form, and the local roads are not designed to accommodate these volumes of traffic.'

The public consultation ends March 23.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus