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Climbing Frames And Play Structures - Is Planning Permission Needed?

By Chris O'Connor

As a retailer of climbing frames and other play structures to the UK market I sometimes get asked if planning permission is needed for putting a play structure in the garden.

The answer to this is "generally no". In fact, I have yet to come across anyone who has bought a play structure from my web sites and has needed planning permission. These are regarded as temporary structures and there is normally no problem.

However, if you live in a part of the country which is a conservation area, or there are covenants or restrictions in your lease or deeds then these may affect whether you can put up your play structure.

This sort of thing is rare and only you will know if you are affected by anything like this. If you are in any doubt then a quick word with your local planning department should clear up any worries.

Generally, as long as your play structure is going in your back garden, and not inconveniencing your neighbours in any way then there should be no problems.

Obviously, don't even think about putting your play structure in your front garden, as you will definitely need planning permission for that !

So, where is the best place to position your play structure in terms of safety? A lot of people want to place their play structure on play bark to provide a safe cushioned surface, and this is a great idea, but it isan expensive option and is really not necessary. If you are buying a climbing frame or other play structure then make sure you look out for one that can be placed on grass.

When measuring up or positioning your play structure make sure that you allow at least 3ft (preferably 6ft) of free space around the play structure. Bear in mind that your children need to walk around the play structure and get access to the various parts of it. If your play structure includes a swing then take into account the amount of space that you are likely to need for a child to be using the swing while another walks in front of, or behind, the swing.

Are there any dangers in your garden which you need to avoid?

You want to make sure that your play structure is not positioned on top of or near a concrete path. If your child was to fall then you want to make sure they are going to land on grass, not concrete !

Make sure that some of the other less obvious hazards are avoided, such as washing lines, and sheds.

So what about actually installing your play structure ?

Depending on the make and model of the play structure it may need to be concreted into the ground. Some models are designed to have extra length in the frame so that this extra length can be buried in the ground. With these models, burying the extra length is essential, and concreting them into place is optional, but recommended.

The other method of securing your climbing frame or play structure in place is to use metal pegs. These will be attached to the play structure at one end, and the other end can either be buried in the ground or a small amount of concrete can be used to secure it in place.

These are just some of the many considerations that you need to take into account when choosing your kids climbing frame or play structure.

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