New ‘Jubilee Play Park’ at former Viking Ship site in Cliftonville now officially open

Cllr Kup does the honours with council leader, ward councillors and project staff Photo TDC

The playground at Ethelbert Crescent in Cliftonville officially reopens today (June 1) ahead of the Platinum Jubilee bank holiday weekend.

The play area has been refurbished with new, fully accessible equipment and surfacing, and will now be known as Jubilee Play Park in honour of the Queen’s 70 years on the throne.

The play equipment includes a castle play system, seesaw, spinner bowl, wheelchair carousel and swings which cater for all ages and abilities. New turf has been laid, the fence and litter bins have been repaired and the picnic table has been refurbished.

Photo TDC

The renovations were paid for with £169, 517 of grant funding from Kent County Council’s Community Park fund, with additional money spent on some other isle parks, and manufactured and installed by Kompan Ltd.

Thanet council says new equipment has been installed around the existing shrubs and trees to preserve the biodiversity of the area and additional planting will take place later in the year. This will include coastal plants suited to the windy, salty environment, for example hardy varieties of Tamarisk and Lamb’s Ear.

The former Viking Ship equipment was removed earlier this year despite public protest and attempted legal action by the Friends of Cliftonville Coastline.

The former Viking Ship Photo John Horton

FOCC said repairing the Robina wood ship and equipment already installed would leave more funding for other play areas, such as Dane and Tivoli sites, and would retain an ‘iconic’ play structure. The group raised a petition and held protests. They also sought legal action but the equipment was demolished at the end of March.

Cllr George Kup, Cabinet Member for Community Safety & Youth Engagement at Thanet District Council, said:  “I’m absolutely delighted to see the brand new Jubilee Play Park open to the public, having passed its safety inspection last week. It looks fantastic and I know the positive impact it will have on children’s and families’ health and wellbeing.

Photo TDC

“I couldn’t think of a more fitting name for our new play park, which is being opened at the same time as we mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

“The more inclusive and accessible equipment will mean that many more children are able to access it, and we hope that local families and visitors enjoy the renovated play area over the bank holiday weekend and for years to come. I’d like to thank residents for their patience while this work has taken place.”

The playground was closed to the public on health and safety grounds in February although it has been accessed by youngsters over the past few weeks despite not being officially open.


  1. Well over 12 tons of CO2 emissions and £170,000 spent on replacing the Viking Ship. It should and could have been repaired for a good 20 years more playground pleasure, with that money spread refurbishing all Thanet’s playgrounds. The Robinia wood was perfectly sound, not rotting from the inside as claimed. It was so sound, that demolition took longer and was far more challenging than expected. Shame on every one of the councillors that by-passed normal procurement and avoided community consultancy to get this through. The purpose of the funding was to get people outdoors during Covid, and the opposite was achieved, with the playground closed on spurious grounds, in any event the result of lack of maintenance over many years, all of which could and should have been repaired. The community will not forget you wasting our money on quick fixes and ignoring the long term need for maintenance, reuse and preservation.

    • Well said Peter 👏… they will always waste other peolpes money and spend it as if its theirs …. narrow streets narrow minds ..

  2. Peter, get a life and take your misery elsewhere. The children will love this new play Park.

    • Of course they will love it, they have no choice since the perfectly sound Pirate Ship playground was ripped out. They loved that even more! The bland plastic replacement is nothing to sing and dance about, it’s replicated in other parks all over. The Pirate ship was unique and adventurous for kids of all ages. Why couldn’t TDC just improve on that by adding some new equipment saving much of the funding for all the other playgrounds that need repairs too? These Cllrs having their photoshoot in front of the park are out of touch with locals and have their own agendas they follow. No consultation and no response to their constituents throughout this period.

  3. Where are the children? Surely some should have been there, as it is for them, not a publicity stunt for councillors.

    • A parent was told by their child that they were all told to go away while the photographs were taken, – so not to ruin the Cllrs photo opportunity I suppose. And the Cllr sitting in the kids swing George Kup is supposed to be TDC cabinet member for Youth Engagement!!!

  4. It takes no intelligence or effort to call a single playground supplier and say “Hi, we’ve just been given loads of public money. Can you help us spend it?”
    The smiles above betray what they got away with. They set aside the procurement process, they ignored the community and especially the children users, enabling them to make zero effort to get best value for all of Thanet. The shallow self-interest of some of our councillors and our most costly officers, is appalling.

  5. I completely agree with Peter. I saw on here that a specialist company had put forward a price (miniscule in comparison to that paid) to completely refurbish the equipment.
    Also, I believe, guaranteeing it for some years.
    Quite why TDC chose not to take advantage of this is beyond my comprehension. The savings would have been enormous!

  6. Peter, Brad and Jerry are correct in all they say.

    Those who think TDC refusal to engage with the public, whilst fabricating information to justify their costly actions is unimportant and irrelevant to life in Thanet are part of the problem and the reason TDC gets away with so much. Apathy rules for so many.

  7. The photo sums up everything that is wrong with thanet … no diversity… once again … narrow streets … narrow minds … just being Frank

  8. Going forward I will petition against any funding being given to Cliftonville and the surrounding area. Friends of Cliftonville Coastline are so ungrateful and seize any opportunity to complain and kick up a stink. They have an agenda but it certainly isn’t for the benefit of Cliftonville and it’s community.

  9. When funding is spent differently to how it was meant, i.e. to refurbish not replace, and technical devices are used to prevent the community having its say, and the end result benefits only between 1/5th and 1/10th of the children that it could have, we have good reason to complain, as should you for it is your money too! This issue was sufficiently self-contained that a few of us engaged in the detail from last December, that normally we just leave to TDC to deliver on. The outcome is demonstrably less than it could and should have been, reinforcing the reported dysfunctionality that has produced such bad results and poor value for us for years. Unless those of us who see the problem complain publicly, there will be no change. Thanet can and should be better and those councillors that just nodded this through, need to reflect on the responsibility they chose to take on, and find it in themselves to do far better.

  10. For god’s sake! Friends of Cliftonville Coastline (lived in the area for 36 years, never heard of you) and all the other whingers, just let the kids enjoy the new play area.

  11. Margate resident, speaking for myself, not FoCC as they speak for themselves, if you had taken more interest in local politics and the decline over some of your 36 years, we may not be in this position. The children will clearly enjoy the new play area as they should, but probably no more than they enjoyed the poorly maintained, but not beyond refurbishment, iconic and award winning Viking Ship playground. The absence of children from the photos and consultation, is symptomatic of what some of us are fighting against and gradually winning.

  12. This is a scandal. The old player area was something really special. It should have been preserved and kept nice. Anyone applauding this new play area really doesn’t understand the issue.

    What a shame a truly epic and unique play area was destroyed by a failing council. Shame on them and all of you that support the move.

    • I think the scandal here is what happened to all the money raised by the “save the viking ship campaign”? It was over £2500 I believe…

  13. And shame on whoever at the council, gave permission for the group involved with the Newgate Gap Shelter, to erect what is there now.
    The so called ‘Art Box’ full of graffiti, is an absolute ‘eyesore’.
    What were TDC thinking, in handing it over to the group Stretch.
    The councillors in the photo should have had a photo taken beside this embarrassment to the area of Cliftonville.
    We have been the ‘dumping ground’ for too long.

    • I agree. They were supposed to have different art displays throughout the seasons but it’s just the same graffiti month after month which is not part of any art box display.

      The real ‘Margate Resident’, not the imposter above replying to Peter.

    • I agree with you James
      How anybody can call it ‘art’ is beyond belief.
      I honestly think TDC has ‘lost the plot’
      It needs to be removed.

  14. the park is an accident waiting to happen
    tree stumps poking out are going to hurt someone running and falling
    kids climbing up the outside of the big slide
    malicious older children congregating at the top of tge big slide, bullying the younger ones

  15. For full transparency, would Friends of Cliftonville Coastline please release an itemised account of what the £2680 raised through the Save the Viking Ship campaign was actually spent on?

  16. Interestingly, I have just seen on the friends of cliftonville coastline fb page, someone has asked about providing proof of what the funds from the fundraiser went on and the organiser of said fundraiser said she is “too busy” to do this… How convenient!!

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