Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Part of former bowling green earmarked for new play area

A NEW children’s play area could be created in Peppard by next summer.

Peppard Parish Council has handed over responsibility for the project to the trustees of Peppard War Memorial Hall in Gallowstree Road, where the facility is likely to be built.

The trustees want to use part of the old bowling green that was used by Peppard Bowls Club until it closed in January.

The council had been trying to build a new playground in the village since 2011.

In 2015 it was granted planning permission for a £50,000 facility on the Top Common near the lay-by linking Colliers Lane and the B481.

The playground was to have 19 pieces of wooden equipment and the area would have been marked off using birch trees.

However, fund-raising had not begun and the councillor who was leading the project resigned, so when the bowls club closed its green was offered as a possible alternative.

The council offered to pay £950 per year to rent the land at the hall earlier this year but has now decided to hand over the whole project.

Council chairman Simon Crouch said it made sense to hand over responsibility for the project to the hall trustees and the council could provide financial support.

“They said they preferred to do it that way as they will have more control over the development,” he said.

“They have a very coherent team and are in a better position to make quick decisions as a charity. It takes longer to make decisions as a council as we only meet on a monthly basis.

“The plan is for them to move ahead with our support and we will meet them regularly to make sure things are going smoothly.”

Clive Mills, chairman of hall trustees, said: “The trustees feel that they want to take on the project. We’ve got to do the planning and health and safety but we feel we are able to deal with it. We hope to have something in place by next summer.

“The playground won’t cover the whole bowling green area as we still want people to use it for picnics and ball games.

“We could start off with something for about £5,000 then move on from that. At least the kids in the village would have something.

“It’s a secure area so it is very, very safe for the children. There would be some sort of lock on a timer from a certain time in the morning until a certain time in the late afternoon.”

An open day for potential hall hirers will be held on December 3 from 10am to noon. There will also be a consultation on plans for the play area.

Meanwhile, Kidmore End Parish Council is to seeking more funding to replace the play area in Gallowstree Common.

It has already raised £47,825 of the £60,398 required for the new equipment at the recreation ground, off The Hamlet.

It is to apply for a grant from insurance company Aviva’s community fund but needs the support of residents.

The council also wants to replace the bark surfacing at the play area with artificial grass matting and to do the same at the play area in Kidmore End.

Parish council chairwoman Sue Biggs said: “Aviva give out more than 3,000 grants.

“People have to register their votes online and we want as many as possible so we have a greater chance of winning the grant and funding the play area.

“We want to fund a new large piece of equipment for the play area and change to a new safety surfacing rather than bark.

“It will be a great advantage as it makes the play area more accessible. We want as many people as possible to be able to use it.”

To support the grant application, visit https://community-fund.aviva.co.
uk/voting/project/view/16-3209

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