More money to enhance borough’s parks and play areas
Play areas and parks in the borough are set to get worn out or broken equipment upgraded and replaced much quicker if Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council agrees to proposals to more than double the money to maintain and repair them.
Ensuring the borough’s parks and play areas are accessible to all, well maintained and fun places for residents and families to enjoy is a key focus for the Cabinet, who are consulting on budget proposals that would increase annual spending from £170,000 to £350,000.
The consultation lasts until 3 January 2024 on the website at www.basingstoke.gov.uk/budget2024, with the feedback being considered before the final budget from April 2024 is agreed at a Council meeting in February.
The borough council is responsible for the management and maintenance of 150 play areas across Basingstoke and Deane. The usual lifespan of a play area is between 15 and 20 years, depending on what it is made of and how much it is used. Many of the play areas in the borough have reached this age, increasing the likelihood of individual pieces of equipment needing replacement or removal but with limited funding to carry out this important work.
Extra funding has been agreed for a new play post that will carry out a strategic review of all the council’s parks and play areas and lead on the delivery of an agreed work programme of improvements.
Cabinet Member for Residents’ Services and Housing Cllr Laura James said: “We know our parks and play areas are very important to our residents’ health and wellbeing which is why we want to make sure they are accessible to all, well maintained and fun!
“We have 150 play areas of differing sizes to maintain across the borough and we are finding that there is no money available to replace equipment so it has to be removed.
“Residents have told us they value their play areas and parks, therefore we are proposing to more than double the funding to replace or repair outdated or damaged play equipment and furniture such as benches each year.
“As part of our work to improve the quality of our play areas we need to review what we have in place and how it meets the needs of the community and this new role will assist us to do this while also supporting an enhanced programme of maintenance, repair or replacement of equipment, where appropriate.”
More information on local play areas is on the website at www.basingstoke.gov.uk/playareas