Philiphaugh Freedom Park


Building owner/client:

Philiphaugh Community School

Architect or lead designer:

Stuart Davidson Architecture

Local Authority Area:

Scottish Borders

Nominating Body:

Philiphaugh Management Committee

Project Description

The project has updated and enlarged an existing very small play area and constructed brand new community facilities in the Bannerfield/Philiphaugh area of Selkirk, in the Scottish Borders. In summary, the project created a new play area, a multi-use games area and a network of pathways, all accessible by the local school and community. The project was led by Philiphaugh Community School and funded primarily by Big Lottery Community spaces Fund. The existing play park which contained two swing-sets and a small climbing frame/slide was expanded to include a range of new play equipment. Pupils, parents and residents were consulted on the proposals from start to finish, which helped inform the final equipment choice and design. The play park area is fully fenced and accessible directly from school grounds as well as being accessible to all users at any time of day.  A new multi-use games area (muga), suitable for football, hockey, basketball and a number of other sports/activities has been created on hard-wearing porous tarmac surface with full fencing. The fencing is 3m high on 3-sides and 1m high on the side facing housing to help minimise the visual impact of the construction. A low-level wild-flower mound was also created between the muga and housing to add variety within what was a flat area and to also create a sound barrier between housing and the muga. Adjacent to the muga is a new bike skills area, including jumps and berms, where local children can practice their bike skills. As an area, the Scottish Borders is world-renowned for mountain biking and small facilities such this will help young people develop bike skills that they could then use at trail centres throughout the Borders. In addition to the play area, muga and bike track, a number of tarmac pathways have been created and benches installed with the plan to link these pathways to other paths being created as part of the Selkirk Flood Prevention Scheme. The intention that this will both provide new links and draw visitors into the Bannerfield/Philiphaugh area of Selkirk

Supporting Statement

The Bannerfield and Philiphaugh area of Selkirk has a strong community spirit, where the local school took the lead in delivering new play facilities with a huge amount of input from local residents and the wider community. Prior to installation of the new play facilities, the recreation area was underused, contained only a small amount of play equipment and had significant issues with dog fouling. The full-fenced play area design tries to address this by creating somewhere that school pupils can use during the school day, whilst also taking into account the dog fouling problem and other safety issues (e.g.) the proximity to Long Philip Burn and Ettrick. Feedback on proposals highlighted a real need that people wanted ‘something to do’ and ‘somewhere to go’ in the area. The final design was selected by a group containing representatives from the school, parent partnership, local residents, Scottish Borders Council and the project architect – and as said above, the actual equipment choice was influenced by feedback from various community events held to discuss the play area proposals. The project took into account concerns of local people and discussed safety aspects with the Council’s Community Safety Team. The project name was ‘Bannerfield Active’, but as works progressed pupils attended site visits and when asked whether they would like to formally name the park, the response was overwhelming. The park is now called ‘Philiphaugh Freedom Park’, with the winning entrant stating the new facilities now afford him the freedom to enjoy the area and have fun. The grand opening of the park in November 2014 attracted a large number of parents, pupils and residents who were all very enthusiastic about the new facilities. The comments and experiences of users is captured in the facebook page set up for the project, as well as a number of photographs :