Row over decommissioning of Redditch play areas in thunders on - The Redditch Standard

Row over decommissioning of Redditch play areas in thunders on

Redditch Editorial 19th Jan, 2024   0

A REDDITCH councillor has raised concerns that a decision to close six play areas across the borough will have a negative impact on families.

At a Redditch Borough council (RBC) executive committee meeting on January 9, the play strategy was voted through by Conservative members.

The six play areas which will be decommissioned are on Dolphin Road in Abbey ward, Britannia Close in Central ward, Cleeve Close in Winyates ward, Dale Road in Abbey ward, Eathorpe Close in Matchborough ward, and Yeadon Close in West ward.

Councillor  Jane Spilsbury for Matchborough Ward said: “I imagine there will be many very disappointed families when they realise play areas are being removed.

“As far as we know, there is no plan to consult residents about these decisions.”

After the meeting, Labour councillors asked for clarification on the criteria for the selection of the play areas to be scrapped, but this has not been provided.

Coun Spilsbury added: “What is clear is that yet again the people of Matchborough have resources taken away, when other areas of the town benefit.

“Matchborough is one the most densely populated areas of Redditch, including communities with high levels of deprivation.

“These criteria do not appear to have influenced the decisions.

“If RBC is serious about encouraging and promoting healthy lifestyles, we cannot afford to lose play areas for small children, who need to develop healthy habits from the youngest age.”

However, RBC have said the six play areas that are to be closed are in poor condition and are nearing the end of their lifespan.

The play audit and investment strategy set out at the meeting aims to increase the accessibility of play provision so that 96.1 per cent – up from 91.6 per cent – of households in the borough have access to a play space within a walking time of up to 10 minutes.

They have pledged to create two new neighbourhood level play spaces in Crabbs Cross and Abbey wards, and upgrading 19 other spaces.

The decommissioning of the six existing place spaces that are ‘end of life’ aims to reduce the pressure on revenue budgets.

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