Parish council aims to replace £30,000 Meade Park play fort destroyed by fire

Photo of play equipment on fire.
Children’s play fort and slide in Meade Park ablaze on Saturday 17th June 2023. Image credit: From a video by Cole Smart.

A large wooden play fort in Meade Park, Stoke Gifford, which had been renewed at a cost of almost £30,000 less than two years ago, has been destroyed by fire.

Avon Fire & Rescue Service says it received reports of a fire in the park at 8.30pm on Saturday 17th June 2023 and crews from Southmead, Temple and Patchway were sent to the scene.

After cutting locks to gain access to the park, firefighters found the wooden play fort “well alight”.

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With one firefighter wearing breathing apparatus, crews used two high pressure hose reels and one 45mm jet to extinguish the fire and prevent it spreading to adjacent woodland.

The crews then spent further time damping down the area.

A fire service report says the cause of the incident is “thought to have been deliberate ignition”.

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Article from the November 2021 issue of the Stoke Gifford Journal magazine.

The play fort had been renewed by Stoke Gifford Parish Council in November 2021 at a cost of £29,450 after the previous wooden installation had rotted beyond economic repair (see report above).

The installation included vertical and ramped climbing walls, a scramble net, a sailor’s ladder, a fireman’s pole and a metal slide (retained from the original).

Photo of fire-damaged play equipment.
Fire-damaged children’s play fort and slide in Meade Park, Stoke Gifford. Pictured on Monday 19th June 2023.

Avon and Somerset Police also attended the incident, arriving at approximately 8.45pm.

When the Journal contacted the police media office on Monday morning, they appeared unaware that the incident had been categorised by the fire service as potentially “deliberate” and were unable to confirm whether any investigations are under way.

Anyone with information is asked to call the police on 101 and provide the call handler with log number 1243 of 17th June 2023.


A brief news article posted on the parish council website on Monday speaks of the fort being “set on fire”.

In a message posted in a private Facebook group on Monday evening, Cllr Dave Addison, chair of Stoke Gifford Parish Council, wrote:

“Parish council staff were at Meade Park on Saturday night to secure the gates (the fire brigade cut the locks to gain rapid access) and Sunday to assess the damage for the insurance claim.”

“I would like to thank both the fire service and beat team for their efforts on Saturday evening. While the fort couldn’t be saved, the fire was put out before it could spread to the adjacent woods. I’d also like to thank the parish staff who worked on the weekend to secure the park and get started on the insurance claim.”

“The fort was insured so we’re waiting to get the go ahead from the insurance company before removing the remains. We’re hoping that the slide will be salvageable but it has taken some damage.”

Photo of people watching a large play fort going up in flames.
Park users watch the blaze. Photo credit: Deb Wiltshire.

“We are hoping to replace the fort and slide as quickly as possible and are intending to have a proposal to put in front of councillors at the next meeting early in July. We’re expecting that the main issue will be how quickly we can get the work booked in.”

“John [Rendell, parish clerk] is already talking to local contractors to see what options we have to replace (and improve) the fort. We know how much the fort, and particularly the slide, are loved and used by local children and we don’t want it to be out of action for the entirety of the summer holidays.”

“For those of you wishing to feed back your thoughts or report other cases of vandalism (as we know that this fire did not happen in isolation), the next beat surgery is being held at Little Stoke Community Centre between 10am and 11.30am on Wednesday 21st June, and the Stoke Gifford Community Engagement Forum will be held as an online meeting at 7pm on Wednesday 28th June.”

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Details of police beat surgeries and Community Engagement Forum meetings can be found on the What’s On page of this website.

The Journal also has a dedicated information page for Community Engagement Forum meetings, with links to agendas and minutes.

Related link: Incident location (Google Maps)

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Police witness appeal

UPDATE added 21st June 2023.

Witness appeal issued by Avon and Somerset Police at 1.43pm on Wednesday 21st June 2023:

We’re investigating an incident in which a play park in Stoke Gifford was badly damaged by fire.

The cause of the fire in Meade Park is being treated as deliberate and we’re appealing for witnesses to come forward.

Avon Fire & Rescue Service attended the scene at around 8.30pm on Saturday (17th June), with officers also attending to speak to people at the scene.

Sgt Craig Doyle, from the Neighbourhood Policing team, said:

“The fire has badly damaged a much-loved community resource and we’re investigating the circumstances to establish who was responsible for starting it”

“We’d like to speak to any eye-witnesses, as well as anyone who saw or heard anything suspicious in the area of the play park prior to the fire breaking out. If you have relevant mobile phone footage, or any other footage, which would help us identify those responsible, please contact us.”

“We’ve increased our patrols in the parks in Stoke Gifford following some recent reports of anti-social behaviour and we’d encourage local residents to continue to report incidents to the Neighbourhood Policing team.”

If you have information about the fire, please call us on 101 and give the call handler the reference number 5223143028, or use the online appeals form.

The Neighbourhood Policing team can be contacted using the form at the bottom of the Stoke Gifford beat team webpage.

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