Clapton Common stretches from Upper Clapton Road to Stamford Hill. The common and its surrounds became a designated conservation area in 1969 and has a similar landscape character to other commons in Hackney, with open grass areas edged with mature London Plane trees. The common also has an exciting play area which was short listed for a Hackney Design Award and a pond with a fountain.
Clapton Common play area is hugely popular, with exciting play opportunities for younger and older children. The funding for the play area was raised by the Clapton Common user group and the design informed by feedback from a community engagement event. The play area contains a fenced under 5s area and a challenging tree and rope structure for older children.
We appointed Erect Architecture to design a new play area for Clapton Common in 2010. It was designed based on the responses received at a community engagement event. Below is a short description of the key elements and how users' feedback helped to shape the design.
Boundaries and seating
Users were very keen to provide a safe, relaxing environment for mothers with young children. They also felt protective of the open character of the common and were aware that the proposed site was quite small for the anticipated density of use.
In response to this, the under 5s part of the play area was fenced with low-level fencing/seating. The area aimed at older children has been left open. This has enabled us to fully utilise the available space.
A substantial amount of both more formal, benches with and without backrests, and informal, tree stumps and timber logs, seating has been provided predominantly along the edges of the site enabling parents and carers to overlook the playground.
Play structures for younger and older children as well as moving equipment were very popular at the consultation event but water play was not a popular choice.
The play area includes climbing structures with slides for younger and older children as well swings and wobble dishes. The less popular water play was omitted from the design.
We have provided opportunities for less able children to participate. The climbing structure for older children contains easier to use elements and the nest swing and wobble dishes can be used by physically impaired children with the support of a parent or carer.
The existing tree line of London Plane trees has been reinforced with additional trees added to the line, in the future this will provide shade and reinforce the strong landscape character of the Common.
Construction was completed in May 2011. Some elements of the design were changed slightly from the original and some items of play equipment were left out, as the original design cost more than the available £100,000 budget. However the Clapton Common user group are pursuing more grants in the hope that these missing elements could be funded in a second phase of construction. The play area still provides great opportunities for play and enjoyment for both younger and older children.
Please do not park cars on Clapton Common. Parking is not permitted and action will be taken against people who park their cars on Clapton Common.
Barbecues are not allowed on Clapton Common. If you'd like to hold a barbecue, there is a dedicated area in London Fields.
Dogs are excluded from the play area. Council Officers have the power to request that dogs are put on leads if they are behaving aggressively, causing damage, or if their owner does not have appropriate control over them. More information on dogs in parks.