Paula takes on play area battle

Paula takes on play area battle

DEWSBURY MP Paula Sherriff has raised concerns about Kirklees Council’s decision to remove ageing equipment at play areas across the district.

Last week, The Press reported that scores of playgrounds could have their equipment removed entirely as Kirklees tries to boost play provision.

But the council received a backlash from some residents who face being left without an outdoor play space for children.

Kirklees says they will upgrade the equipment in 177 of the district’s 314 play areas, to ensure all pieces are less than 15 years old. The remaining 137 will then be made up of natural play features such as boulders, logs, appropriate planting and new landscaping.

Miss Sherriff said in her letter to chief executive Jacqui Gedman: “In these austere times, I welcome the £9.5million investment in play areas across the next three years. 

“Unfortunately this announcement has been, rightly or wrongly, diminished by media reports of the potential loss of play equipment at a number of sites across my constituency.

“Although subsequent statements have claimed that there will be a full consultation with ward councillors and residents, I share the concerns of local residents that a list of recreational spaces at risk of losing their equipment has been published, apparently pre-empting public engagement over this issue.”

A council spokesman said: “We have already extensively consulted on what we might be able to offer and this formed part of the (play) strategy.

“We want communities to help us get this right and that’s why we’re encouraging everyone to take part in the upcoming consultation so they have their say and we work together to ensure that sites meet our communities’ needs.”

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