Saturday, 21 July 2018

Council plans to modernise play area

A PLAY area in Watlington could be replaced at a cost of up to £20,000.

A PLAY area in Watlington could be replaced at a cost of up to £20,000.

The current facility in the Paddock, behind Old School Place, opened in 2002 and is nearing the end of its life.

It was also vandalised in September when the posts securing a raised platform to the ground were pulled out and damaged beyond repair.

Now the parish council is seeking quotes to replace the wooden  equipment.

Councillors Jane Bryant and Rachel Huckvale are leading the project and have already approached three companies for quotes on new equipment.

Cllr Huckvale described the current play area as a “disaster zone”. She said: “It’s on its last legs. To be honest if we don’t replace it, it’s just going to fall into disuse because it’s not going to be fit for purpose.”

The parish council would meet some of the cost and plans to apply for a grant from South Oxfordshire District Council’s capital grants scheme. More money could come from lother grants and fund-raising.

Cllr Huckvale, who has a two-year-old daughter, said she hoped the area would feature equipment “more sensory and creative”, such as puzzles.

Tom Bindoff, vice-chairman of the council’s operations committee, said: “The equipment has got to the end of its useful life and a couple of the items have actually had to be removed because they had become unsafe.

“Rachel is trying to prepare a case for investing in a new set of play equipment and going for a grant.”

He said the council wanted to progress the project as quickly as possible as the play area catered for young children and was well used but needed the cost of the design to be agreed first.

Councillor Bindoff added: “The Paddock generally is a lovely area enjoyed by all ages. Rarely do you go past and find nobody in it.

“It has been a great asset to Watlington so we want to make sure that whatever is put there is up to the same sort of standard.”

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