Marking the Way to an Active Environment

05 September, 2022 - News - WJ Group

The last two years have seen public spaces grow in importance. When national restrictions limited people to outdoor contact only, parks became a second home, with many exploring them with friends and family or to exercise in. To ensure Bury Council’s award-winning Green Flag parks offered a wide variety of activities for the whole family, it worked with WJ Group to bring new vibrant spaces to the area. 

The bright idea

Bury Council wanted to reinvigorate its parks and create appealing environments for exercise. Commissioned and funded by the Council and Sport England, the idea was to implement bright signage across 13 of its parks, encouraging individuals to engage in the marked activities.

Colourful surfacing, which is placed on roads and pathways, is becoming an increasingly popular option to engage the public. Whether it’s adding exercise routines, signposting running routes or mapping the area, they are a cost-effective method of brightening up spaces.

Acknowledging its long-standing relationship and specialism in various road and pavement markings, Bury Council asked WJ Group to develop a solution. Presented with the proposed design, WJ partnered with its suppliers to manufacture 15 preformed markings that the public could engage with. Made from thermoplastic materials, the preformed markings securely bond to the ground to provide high resistance against footfall wear.

Overcoming access challenges

Usually, WJ would install these types of markings using vehicles weighing 20 tonnes, that contain air compressors required for heating the markings onto the surface. However, many of the parks’ pathways were very narrow, leaving insufficient space for the vehicles to pass through. The parks also needs to be clear from debris and completely clean before operating.

To work around this, WJ used adapted pick-up trucks and worked closely with the Council to ensure the paths were ready to avoid any delay. Callum Quinn, Commercial Assistant at WJ, explained: “Sustainability is essential to our approach, so we looked for a solution that wouldn’t require additional resources. As a result, we decided to attach the air compressors to pick-up trucks in our fleet. Smaller in size, this type of vehicle allowed us to access the footpaths and install the graphics.

“Throughout the project, we worked collaboratively with the Council which allowed the project to run smoothly. Paths were prepared and free from obstruction, meaning they were in fit condition for us to operate without any hiccups.”

An active and appealing environment

Owing to co-operation and innovative thinking, all 15 markings were installed within a month. Each park was complete with active floor graphics that included a hashtag to encourage people to share their experiences on social media and further promote the initiative.

Lee Buggie, Principal Wellness Development Officer at Bury Council, commented: “Ensuring our 12 Green Flag Parks and wider greenspaces are the best environment for local people to enjoy, especially as we emerge from the restrictions imposed by the pandemic is essential. It’s really important to encourage interaction with public spaces and drive that return to normality. We’re really impressed with how WJ supported us in achieving our ideas. The work they carried out has helped to turn our parks into visually-appealing places for everyone to actively enjoy.”

Will Smith, Group Commercial Manager at WJ, added: “Supporting communities is at the heart of our operations, so I’m very pleased that we were able to work with Bury Council and bring value to the local area. It’s also great to see how our team adapted to the projects challenges and did so in an efficient manner.”