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Decrepit play areas to get £75k revamp
UP to £75,000 of taxpayers’ money could be spent on Witney’s play areas because they are in such a poor state of repair. Witney Town Council has found seven of its 12 play areas require repairs to their surfaces, with four needing urgent work this year.
Council officers said two of the play areas were close to being condemned while others had “severe damage” to surfaces.
The £75,000 would be invested over three years, with more than £40,000 spent in the next two years to refurbish the seven surfaces.
The remaining money could be spent on future repairs or replacing equipment.
Deputy town clerk Claire Swan said: “We are planning for the future and trying to improving things for the people of Witney. Play areas are free, outdoors and healthy – it is all the things we are trying to get kids to do, which is why it is important.”
Witney mum-of-two Kelly Hale, 31, said: “It is good news from a parenting point of view. The town needs the play areas brought up to date because the population must have doubled in the last 20 years.”
The plan was discussed at a leisure and recreation committee last week and councillors agreed in principle to set aside the £75,000. The decision will need to be ratified by the full council.
Officers said £40,863 was needed to replace surfaces at seven play areas with Tiger Mulch, which would be laid over the current surface and last up to 10 years.
This would see play surfaces at Oxlease (costing £3,220), Burwell (£2,380), Ralegh Crescent (£6,073) and Fieldmere Close (£2,100) replaced this year.
Surfaces at Quarry Road (£10,570), Cedar Road in Madley Park (£14,000) and The Leys (£2,520) would then be replaced in 2014.
The action follow inspections by Zurich insurance and “defect reports” last year, as well as visual inspections carried out by officers in February.
Visual inspections showed “severe damage” at Oxlease, Fieldmere and Ralegh Crescent, while Burwell and Fieldmere are close to being condemned.
At the meeting, town clerk Sharon Groth said: “They are close to condemning a couple of sites because of the state of safety surfaces.”
Mrs Swan added: “In all honesty, every play area we have been to has a poor play surface and outdated play equipment. We cannot ignore that.”