Petition demands repairs to Chalkwell Park play areas

Urgent improvements must be made to play areas in Chalkwell Park, Westcliff, residents have insisted after claiming equipment is “outdated” and play areas are plagued by flooding.

Leigh Town councillor Vinice Cowell is behind the petition, having spent months pleading for a broken seesaw to be reinstalled in one of two play areas in the park in London Road.

Cllr Cowell said: “I have three daughters and we used the park even prior to coming to Southend. It’s vital space for many families not just those who are local. We used to live in Brentwood but still came to that park.

“People use the park for a variety of celebrations. It’s a lovely space. The seesaw has been missing since 2019. In July I was assured it was coming back imminently and now we are nearly into October and there is no sign of it.”

Cllr Cowell added: “The equipment does its job but it’s old and outdated. The zip slide is nearly always broken. In bad weather it gets water-logged. If we put a bit more money it would be usable all year round.”

The petition calls for a “full community consultation” of two play areas in the park.

It claims the equipment is in “dire” need of updating and action is also needed to tackle regular flooding in the under eight’s play area, which has led it to be temporarily closed on occasions.

The document adds: “Both parks have a minimal offer of play equipment for children who have mobility or disability issues and layout in both sites can be improved.

“Southend is now a city and focusing on its levelling up agenda.

“Our parks deserve to be prioritised in this vision.”

Carole Mulroney, Southend councillor responsible for environment, culture and tourism, says the park is one of a number around the city in need of a revamp, but has warned funding must be secured before plans can be drawn up.

She added: “Chalkwell Park is a priority park and we will be taking that into account when we come forward with the upgrade programme.

“The petition highlights people’s concerns but we are looking at all our children’s play areas.”

To sign the petition, visit https://democracy.southend.gov.uk/mgEPetitionDisplay.aspx?ID=58&RPID=13873263&HPID=13873263

Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter