Our Playable Spaces strategy grabs the public’s attention

The Playable Spaces Strategy is a £9.5million investment to improve all public play areas and spaces across Kirklees.

How many play areas are there?

There are currently 314 play areas with equipment managed by the council across Kirklees, which is more than Bradford and Leeds combined. This is something that we are proud of and, contrary to recent media reports, have no plans to close any of them.

What is the strategy?

The Playable Spaces scheme will see 177 of these parks having their equipment upgraded, to make sure it’s less than 15 years old. This will mean 90 per cent of residents will have at least one equipped play area 700m away from their home.

What about the other parks?

The other 137, which are smaller in size, will remain as public play areas but will potentially provide a different offer. They will be made up of natural play features such as boulders, logs, appropriate planting and new landscaping. This is to encourage adults and children alike to be able to use them, promoting a healthy lifestyle.

How did these proposals come about?

Before the proposals were drafted we conducted a thorough engagement process with residents and local stakeholders, as well as Public Health, to identify the need in each area. Population, the condition of current equipment and social issues in each area, such as deprivation were all factored in.

Since being approved by Cabinet on 19 March, residents have been engaging with the proposals in high numbers.

A consultation and engagement process will be taking place in the coming months and the council is encouraging all residents to share their views as part of this. No changes will be made until the consultation is conducted.

A Kirklees Council spokesperson said:

“We are delighted to see that so many residents care so passionately about their local play areas and spaces and it’s a credit to Kirklees as a borough that we have so many.

We want to make it perfectly clear that we have no plans to close any of these play areas. We’re planning to change some of them making sure that our play areas deliver variety. We fully understand how big a need there is for play equipment in our public spaces and we’re confident that this need will be met.

However, what we need more of is open public spaces that everyone in Kirklees can use for a variety of different activities and that’s what this plan will achieve. We have already extensively consulted on what we might be able to offer and this formed part of the 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.”

How can I have my say?

Engagement and consultation events are currently being organised. In the meantime you can contact parks@kirklees.gov.uk with any questions or concerns. You can also see answers to frequently asked questions here.

5 comments

  • C’mon kirklees, don’t patronise us! We know that you’re removing play equipment, not closing parks. But let’s be honest, that’s the areas within most parks that see the most usage!! We’re not stupid; ‘updating’ play equipment with “natural play features such as boulders, logs, appropriate planting and new landscaping” is basically another way of saying that you’re replacing apparatus with things that already exist in the wider parkland surroundings. Clearly this is being done so that you don’t have to maintain equipment that is already in good condition to save yourselves some money. But I ask… How much is this work actually going to cost??? To me it seems mad – stop wasting money on fixing a problem that no one has asked you to fix!!

    Ings Grove Park is our local park set to be involved in this transformation. As the only playground in Mirfield suitably safe for toddlers and preschoolers (trust me – all you have to do is sit in any other park for 10 minutes and you will see 3 or 4 parents in sheer panic everytime their little moves), Ings Grove is an asset to Mirfield. With it’s close proximity to the high street and a vastly over subscribed doctors, it is well used, well loved, and well needed for our youngest to learn and explore comfortably. I just don’t believe that what you are proposing could possibly provide the same level of play opportunities for very small children who may not have developed the imaganitive streak that their older peers (who have plenty of other and more appropriate places to play that you’re not getting rid of) have.

    It might be in my head, but it seems that our young people couldn’t be further down the pecking order on the kirklees priority list! Sure start and children’s centres closing, schools openly expressing major concern at lack of funding (our local primary is talking about closing for half a day… SERIOUSLY???) and now this…

    Way to invest in our babies’ futures.

    • Sadly this type of review has to take place to try and save money. Sure start centres have closed for the same reason. The fault however lies not with the council but with central government that has reduced the amount of money that it gives to Kirklees council by 60% since 2010. No council can absorb a £200 million cut in its income without reducing services. The council now has barely enough money to meet its statutory responsibility for adult social care and children’s services and all other services not required by law have to be reviewed to see where savings can be made. Similarity the reductions in education spending leading to chronic staffing and equipment shortages in school are entirely the responsibility of central government. The only route to achieving change and reversing damaging cuts to public services is to remove the Conservative government

  • Couldn’t have said it better myself Leanne. Ings Grove Park is already a lovely park with opertunity for children to explore free play. Rolling down the hill, playing in the tree trunk and of course the stones which are loved by all children. None of these however are suitable for my 1yr old to play. He hates being strapped in his pram and won’t just sit happy on my lap so before he could walk it was great to be able to put him in the baby swing wild my eldest played without him getting upset. The play equipment in this park is perfect for under 5’s, especially babies and toddlers.

    Also the grass area in the park is always full of dog poo, I have to inspect it before letting my daughter go play. I wonder how they will stop the new boulders etc.. being covered in dog poo?

  • There is nothing wrong with Marsden hard end play area all equipment is in good condition and well used. The kids want swings and slide s not logs and boulders. How can a little child play safely on lumps of wood and stone.have you lost all common sense or is money your priority not safety

  • Nobody is confused about the orientation of this initiative; they know that venues will not be closed. I think you should be more up front about the fact that budgetary constraints lie at the heart of the plans i.e. maintenance of ageing play equipment is getting too expensive. Which is a shame because most children and parents favour the traditional simple swings and spring loaded equipment. Not sure about the “boulders and logs” alternative. I agree with Leanne Yeomans’ comment above that there is a rather patronising air to the report. I’m in Marsden and I see the local play areas used a great deal by local families. Hopefully the consultation process will ensure that residents’ views will be heard in an effective manner.

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