Harewood House: Plans for brand-new outdoor play area at popular Leeds Grade I listed estate unveiled

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Families visiting Harewood House could soon enjoy a brand-new play area at the popular Leeds estate.

The iconic Grade I listed country house in Harewood, North Leeds, has submitted a planning application to Leeds City Council's planning committee proposing the construction of a brand new play area on its vast grounds.

Plans include the removal of the existing play equipment in order to create a new outdoor play space which provides a "safe, social and inclusive environment for families and intergenerational groups to enjoy".

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Harewood House Trust is hoping to create a new play area at the Grade I listed estate. Picture Jonathan GawthorpeHarewood House Trust is hoping to create a new play area at the Grade I listed estate. Picture Jonathan Gawthorpe
Harewood House Trust is hoping to create a new play area at the Grade I listed estate. Picture Jonathan Gawthorpe

Kath Knight, Harewood Trust deputy CEO, told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “Harewood’s existing play area has been popular with family visitors and the local community for many years but now needs replacing.  The existing equipment is nearly 30 years old in parts and at end-of-life and the Trust has had to remove several pieces over the last few years.

“The proposed play area will be located to the west of the existing site.  The removal of existing play structures will allow this area to be reabsorbed into the west pleasure grounds, creating a new open space between Harewood House, the Courtyard and the Bakehouse.  This is part of our long-term vision to reimagine and heal Harewood's landscape.”

The new area will, if approved, also provide improved picnic and seating facilities, some of which would be covered so that the new area can be enjoyed on rainy days.

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According to a supporting vision statement submitted along with the application, the new play area will be designed to fit within the historic landscaped setting of both Harewood House and its courtyard.

It will also be designed to complement the natural environment and to link with other existing play and learning areas across the wider site.

The current play equipment is set to be removed to make way for a new outdoor play area at the popular Leeds estate. Picture by Harewood House TrustThe current play equipment is set to be removed to make way for a new outdoor play area at the popular Leeds estate. Picture by Harewood House Trust
The current play equipment is set to be removed to make way for a new outdoor play area at the popular Leeds estate. Picture by Harewood House Trust | Harewood House Trust

The vision statement also outlines plans for minor upgrades to the stables and improvements to the internal dining spaces to create more indoor seating on the ground floor, as well as improvement to existing toilet facilities and re-landscaping of the former bird garden, which closed in 2023 after 50 years at the estate.

The Trust is hoping to begin installing the new play area in mid-summer with completion by the end of October this year. During construction, parts of the existing play area will remain in place for children to play on until the new area is finished.

Consultation on the plans is due to begin in Tuesday, April 16, with any comments to be submitted by Friday, April 26.

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