Report of the Deputy Chief Executive (Place)
To consider the above petition, bearing 41 signatures, which has been submitted by the petition organiser, who has been invited to the meeting for the consideration of this item.
The Cabinet Member considered a report of the Deputy Chief Executive (Place)
which responded to a petition bearing 41 signatures, sponsored by Councillor Abbott, a Wyken Ward Councillor, which had been submitted to the City Council on 12th April, 2018. The petition requested that the Council upgrade the children’s play area located within Caludon Castle Park. Councillor Abbott attended the meeting and spoke on behalf of the petitioners.
The report noted that the petition stated “As a mother of two very lively boys, I would like to ask if there is possibility for upgrade of the Caludon Park Play Area. The actual place is very poor and apart from the huge area for football there is no proper space for older kids to burn some energy. We were at Allesley Park on Sunday and it was so busy and noisy (in a positive meaning). There is a big slide, spider web climbing frame (it was the main attraction), a lot of swings and few other attractions to entertain kids. I live in Wyken area and seen a lot of families with small kids suffering from lack of space to keep the kids busy. Apart from St Margaret Road and Caludon Park poor play areas, there is no place to spend the time with kids. Is there any possibility at least for one more attraction (spider web frame) to place in Caludon?”
The report noted that Caludon Castle Park Play Area was located in the south east of the City and contained a number of items of equipment designed to be appropriate for both the younger age group, aged 4 to 7 years and the senior age group, 8 to 13 years. These play items included rockers, swings with both junior and toddler seats, Multi Use Play Units, dish roundabout and cable runway. In addition the play site also included items for informal sports play such as a basketball net and court and a Multi-Use Games Area. Infrastructural elements associated with the play site included fencing, wooden posts, seating, bins, tarmac footpaths and safer surfacing. Items of existing equipment were shown in the appendix to the report.
The park was under the control of the Parks Service within the Place Directorate. It was the Area Park for the South of the City and was submitted annually for a Green Flag award, which it had achieved for the last 6 years. Play facilities in the City were inspected on a weekly basis and repairs/replacements were undertaken as and when necessary to maintain the equipment and associated infrastructural features in a safe and usable condition.
During 2010/11 the play area was refurbished at a cost of approximately £105,000. This was financed from funding secured from the Governments Play Builder Initiative. Since that time a further £7,000 had been spent undertaking general refurbishment works. Recent inspections however had found that most of the equipment was nearing the end of its practicable life. Some items were showing signs of wear and tear, and an element of vandalism. In addition the sand-filled safer surfacing would require attention in the near future.
When external or internal inspections were undertaken, consideration was also given to the serviceable life expectancy of the facility, usually on an item by item basis as not all equipment needs to be replaced at the same time. In these cases, recommendations were made as to what items should be considered for replacement or improvement and the works were then included in the play area maintenance programme.
The option to remove and not replace items of equipment deemed to have reached the end of its practicable life had been considered, however this would result in the gradual further and overall reduction in the play value and benefit of the facility over time and lead to its eventual removal. A full refurbishment of this play area had also been considered however, would cost approximately £100,000 to complete and the Parks Service does not have the existing resources to undertake this proposal.
The nearest other play facility was located at St Margarets Park and Caludon Castle Park falls outside its catchment area. The eventual removal of this play facility would leave the local community without any play provision within a reasonable distance. Removal of the play area would also potentially lead to its loss of Green Flag status. It was therefore recommended that the Councils Park Service retain the facility and it continued to explore and exploit all funding opportunities, both external and internal to replace items which reach the end of their practicable life with dynamic and high play value items of equipment and when possible, install additional items to provide an exciting and stimulating play environment.
Councillor Abbott provided further detail about the anti-social behaviour experienced at the park and a need for a mixture of equipment to challenge different age groups. Councillor Abbott asked about timescales and consultation with local people about the new equipment.
The Shadow Cabinet Member suggested that a ‘friends of the Park’ group may be able to access funding.
RESOLVED that the Cabinet Member for Policing and Equalities:
1) Note that inspections of the play area have identified that much of the equipment is reaching the end of their practicable life.
2) Note that Caludon Castle Park falls outside the catchment area of the nearest equipped local play facility.
3) Agree that Caludon Castle Park play area be retained and that items of the existing play equipment be replaced as and when it reaches the end of their practicable life and be funded through a combination of external funding and existing budget provision.