New Park Makes Play Accessible To All

Mayor of Test Valley, Councillor Iris Andersen, officially opened the new Saxon Fields play park in Andover on Saturday, 26 September.

The new space is now much larger and includes equipment specially designed so that young wheelchair users can play in the park with children of all abilities. The park’s upgrade comes as a result of consultation with local families about the type of equipment they’d like to have available. The new play area has replaced old equipment and has moved to a different part of the Saxon Fields development.

The purpose-built roundabout and swing has already proved popular with young Zac. Ben Walton, Zac’s dad, said: “We are so pleased that Andover finally has a park which has a wheelchair-accessible ride. We can come here as a family to play and Zac can join in. He feels included here and able to play alongside his sister and friends. It really does make a massive difference, not only in Zac’s life but in all of ours.”

Deputy Mayor of Test Valley, Councillor Karen Hamilton, added: “It was my pleasure to open the Saxon Fields play park with the Mayor. It was important to me that we had an inclusive park in the area which would support all children’s needs because local families were travelling to Southampton to access similar equipment. My goal is to see all future park developments support disabled needs so that children can play inclusively together.”

The opening of the play park was a family event that combined with the Harroway Dog Show. Nearly 70 dogs entered the competition which included categories such as most waggly tail, dog most like its owner and happiest puppy. The entries were judged by the Mayor, Deputy Mayor, staff from The Groom Room at Pets at Home, and Test Valley Borough Council’s Animal Welfare Officer.

Local councillors also spent time with the residents to hear more about local issues that could help shape priorities for future years.

Polly has almost 20 years in the media industry. As Editor of Andover and Villages, she strives to bring the latest and greatest news with a minutes notice. Polly can be contacted via or alternatively called at