Play park revamp gets partial clearance
Plans for the refurbishment of the Flagstaff Park play area have been partially approved in the hope that visitors will be able to enjoy it this summer.
The proposed redevelopment of the park has been dragging on for almost two years but has been beset by numerous problems.
However, it is understood that the scheme, being led by Berwick Town Council, now has consent from Historic England and that drainage issues are being addressed by Northumbrian Water.
The transfer of the freehold from Northumberland County Council has still not happened but town councillors felt they could not wait any longer to get the project started.
They agreed that phase one of the scheme - to revamp the area of the existing play park - could proceed and that phase two, covering the expanded area, would happen once the freehold issue is dealt with.
Councillor Anne Forbes said: “I’m sick and tired of taking my grand-daughter for a walk along there and there not even being any swings. Getting phase one started would allow us to at least have some equipment there.”
Councillor Gordon McLean added: “I can’t see any reason why we should wait any longer.”
He also warned that costs would rise if the scheme was further delayed.
Play equipment manufacturer Kompan has been contracted to revamp the park between the ramparts and tennis courts.
The result - complete with swings, slides, climbing frames, rope ladders, roundabout and see-saw - is a far cry from the play park’s current plight, stripped of everything apart from a toddler’s swing.
The council has already allocated £80,000 towards new play park equipment in its budget.
However, concerns were again raised about the dangers of proceeding without the freehold and the length of time the transfer is taking.
Councillor Catherine Seymour said: “Our legal advice was that the equipment should not be put in place until the freehold was ours.”
Councillor Georgina Hill added: “We’re letting the county council treat us like second class citizens.”
She also raised concerns about an expenses claim for a fact-finding trip to a play park in Morpeth which she said had not been authorised.