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Local playground future is in your hands

Author: 
John Freeman
(Updated, 23/4/10): Lancaster City Council’s Cabinet has agreed to go out to consultation on the future of a number of play areas in the district - and will spend money on two new play areas and keep one in Bulk Ward that had been earmarked for closure.

Cabinet members considered a report into the district’s play areas earlier this week (as we previously reported), noting that while the vast majority of the 79 playgrounds they maintain in the local area are in good repair, a small number of the city council’s low priority and older play areas require significant investment.

To ensure that the council continues to have a wide range of playgrounds in areas where they are most used, Cabinet agreed to go out to consultation on the future of 10 playgrounds.

These are: Arcon House, Ambleside Road, Barnacre Close, Church Brow, Crag Bank Field, Furness Street, Low Moor, Manor Road (Slyne), Skerton Cowshard (which will be relocated) and The Roods (Warton Village).

Members of the public who would like to have their say on the possible closures should contact their ward councillor or parish council. Details are available on www.lancaster.gov.uk.

The results of the consultation will be reported back to Cabinet later this year.

In addition to consulting on the future of 10 play areas, Cabinet agreed to spend £50,000 on a new play area in Heysham Village. A play area will also be built in Hala to replace the poorly equipped play areas on Abbeystead Drive and Hala Hill, which will both then be closed.

Cabinet also agreed that a number of other play areas should close without consultation, which are: Forest Park, Highgrove Close, Parliament Street and St Austell. All of these play areas are located close to other better play areas and the investment needed to upgrade them would instead be targeted to areas of greatest need.

Although initially proposed for potential closure, there's some good news for John O'Gaunt ward, where Labour Councillor Eileen Blamire raised concerns about closures: the play area at Gregson Road will remain open.

Cabinet also agreed to the development of a partnership approach with parish councils. This would see the city council provide some free maintenance work and regular safety inspections at 15 playgrounds owned by parish councils and a community group.
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