Council confirms play park funding

Swings in disrepair on Berwick Walls

Swings in disrepair on Berwick Walls

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Berwick Town Council has confirmed its plans to carry out a £100,000 revamp of play park facilities at Flagstaff Park and the Bonarsteads.

The capital expenditure is included in its 2014/15 budget which received approval from councillors on Monday night.

From April, the council will also take responsibility for the parks at Five Arches, Greenhaven, Grove Gardens South, Osborne Place, Spittal Pavilion, Springdale and Newfields.

It has budgeted £20,000 to cover the estimated annual costs of maintenance, inspections and insurance.

The gradual loss of play equipment from many parks over the last year or two, removed by Northumberland County Council when it is deemed unsafe or in need of repair, has been a big disappointment for children and their parents.

The county council has no statutory obligation to provide play areas and, since local government reorganisation in 2009, has always intended that play parks should be managed by town and parish councils.

The town council has already carried out a review of play areas, in conjunction with Jan Casson from Sure Start and with input from Berwick Youth Council.

This concluded that improved play provision for older children is needed in the Prior Park area, with a separation of facilities for younger and older children, along with new equipment, at Flagstaff Park.

There will be further public consultation as the plans progress.

Spittal splash park, beset by numerous technical problems since its installation, will remain in the county council’s hands until the town council is satisfied these have been overcome. Parks at Highcliffe and Westfield have also been excluded from the list.

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