Basildon councillors have agreed amendments to the council’s Play Review, which will see an increase in investment and further review of play as part of the 10-year programme.
The Play Review is a proposed programme of play upgrades which was scheduled to see the council spend up to £9 million over the next 10 years, at a rate of approximately £900,000 each year.
There are currently 143 Basildon Council managed play areas in the borough, and the Play Review proposed to reduce this to 88, making targeted improvements over the period to build a network of high-quality play facilities.
The amendments made to the strategy at the Leisure and Environment Committee meeting on Thursday June 24 mean an additional £30,000 towards play equipment for Langdon Hills Recreation Ground and an additional £100,000 towards play equipment for Wat Tyler Country Park. There will also now be further consultation with all members regarding the 55 play areas that had been proposed for removal.
As part of the Play Review, there will be seven play areas across the borough with major investment scheduled to be completed by the end of 2021. This includes Swan Mead’s play area, where £150,000 has been earmarked for investment after the majority of the equipment in the existing play area had to be removed last year, after serious vandalism and fire damage occurred.
Chairman of the Leisure and Environment Committee, Councillor Craig Rimmer, said: “Play areas provide lots of fun and memories for children and their parents, and the best thing is; they’re totally free places to enjoy. We want to consult further on the play areas that were proposed for removal, to make sure that we are providing suitable opportunities for all young people in the borough.
“One of the sites earmarked for investment as part of the programme is in the Bowers Gifford area of Pitsea. We want to further engage with Bowers Gifford and North Benfleet Parish Council to enable us to work together to explore options to enhance the play offer for the area.
“And the agreed additional investment in Wat Tyler Country Park and Langdon Hills Recreational Ground will add significant improvements to two of our key play sites in the borough, making these already fantastic facilities even better for our borough’s young people.
“With the additional investment sites, we will have twelve majorly upgraded play areas in the borough within the next year alone. And, where possible, we’ll be consulting on the designs of each site with local young people, through schools, in order to make sure they meet the needs of the local community.”