Hello, I am Councillor Steve Heyes, the Vice-Chair of Amenities & Leisure and the Chair of the Play Area Working Party.
During the 2020/2021 financial year the Play Area Working Party has ensured that all of the Council’s impressive 24 Play Areas have been regularly maintained with wear/tear repairs and vandalism fixed as quickly as possible.
CCTV has been installed in three more play parks during the year to protect our equipment from damage and to ensure that our families feel safe.
We have worked with Benjamin’s Smile Charity to understand how we can make our play areas more accessible in a way that everyone can use them. Valuable small changes and ideas that we will ensure to implement as we remodel or replace play areas going forward.
During 2020 our refurbished skate park was constructed, replacing the outdated one that had reached the end of its life. The new park is designed by skateboarders for skateboarders and even has special accessible point for when chair access. Due to the most recent government and Skateboard England guidance, the skate park is currently closed but we are hopeful it will reopen on 29th March 2021 prior to receiving new fencing, and being closed for a week again, in mid-May.
We also remodelled King George V Play Area, and this now incorporates new path ways, new equipment that can be used by all, whether fully able bodied or with special accessibility needs. The park reopened on 19th March so is only a few days old and waiting to be explored.
We also installed a shelter in Heaton Close Play Area, Abbey Meads for younger residents to sit in.
Looking ahead over the next year we are planning to upgrade two more play parks, namely Luna Close in Oakhurst and Gaynor Close in Abbey Meads and while they will not get a full refit, we will ensure that each one gets some new equipment some of which will be accessible. Also Voyager Drive will be resurfaced, and the Parks & Projects Team is currently looking into any additional items that can be included early on within the tender process.
We remain committed to investing in our play areas and making them available every day of the year.