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Changes to stay and play booking trial

Following residents’ feedback, changes to The Look Out’s stay and play booking system will be made to reduce the coffee shop cashback scheme to £5 from Saturday 22 August.

While more than 200 families have booked on to the system and used the facilities since it re-opened on Monday, the council has been listening to community feedback regarding the £10 coffee shop credit and access for families with disabled children.

The booking system, which is currently being trialled, will remain in place to make sure that social distancing and hygiene measures can be maintained, however the coffee shop credit will be reduced to £5 per booking (up to 6 people).

Each booking will comprise:

  • dedicated 90-minute play session at the playground for up to 6 people
  • reserved and socially distanced picnic bench
  • reserved parking space (parking charges apply)
  • £5 credit for use in the coffee shop - this works out as roughly the same as 2 coffees or a coffee and a large soft drink

Bookings cost £5, plus a standard 82 pence booking fee, payable to Eventbrite. The £5 is automatically converted into a credit for the coffee shop.

Families with a disabled child (under 18) can book to stay and play free of charge. The booking for up to 6 people will include 90 minutes playtime, a reserved parking space (charges apply) and a dedicated picnic table. Evidence of Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment will need to be presented on arrival.

Anyone with a booking can also use the forest and its trails for free before or after their playtime to walk, run, jog or bike to create a longer family day out.

A takeaway coffee shop service has also opened for people who want refreshments but do not wish to use the playground. No booking is required for this service.

Additionally, people wishing to use the forest only do not need to book a space but parking charges apply.

The booking service will be kept under continual review as the trial proceeds.

The Look Out is an extremely popular destination playground with families from across the region travelling to the park. The booking system reduces the risk of overcrowding on the site and therefore limits the risk of COVID-19 transmission. The cash-back charge helps to pay for running costs, including the staff and cleaning equipment necessary to make sure visitors are as safe as possible.

Cllr John Harrison, Executive Member for Culture, Delivery and Public Protection, said:

"It’s really important for us to listen to the community’s feedback when we trial new systems and we have taken people’s views on the £10 coffee shop cash-back part of this trial in to account – halving it to £5.

“We understand that some people felt the £10 was too much, despite it being a cash-back system, it will therefore be reduced to £5 from Saturday. This is around the same cost as 2 coffees or a coffee, small soft drink and small snack – which we felt was more reasonable and in line with people’s comments about how much they may spend on refreshments during their 90-minute stay and play session.

"Those wishing to use the play area must book a space in advance. The booking guarantees you a 90-minute visit to the play area, a reserved parking space, allocated picnic bench and £5 credit in the cafe for light refreshments during your visit. Car parking fees apply as normal. By using this approach, we can prevent overcrowding and make sure that people will turn up for their session and not leave space that could have been booked by others.

“Providing these facilities comes at a cost, to cover their initial set up and the staff time to run them, which is why we’ve introduced a coffee shop credit as part of the stay and play package. Money spent in the coffee shop will be used to help run and maintain The Look Out – including staff costs.

“We’re running the stay and play sessions on a trial basis and encourage anyone who visits during the pandemic to take extra precautions, by maintaining social distancing and regularly sanitising their hands.

“All indoor facilities, including the toilets, remain closed to the public while we explore options for their safe re-opening. Keep an eye out for further updates about The Look Out via our website and social media.”

Anyone who has booked a stay and play session after Saturday (22 August) will be contacted by The Look Out.

To find out more or to book, visit our playground and coffee shop page.

Contact information

The Look Out Discovery Centre

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