Putting residents at the heart of our play areas

Our £9.5million scheme to improve play areas across the borough will be shaped by residents.

When can residents have their say?

We will begin consulting residents on what they want in their local play areas from spring 2020.

What is the aim of the scheme?

The aim of the scheme is to enhance all Kirklees play areas so they better meet local need and provide high quality play areas for all residents and help improve their health – particularly young people.

Councillor Walker says that this has always been the case but this was not made clear enough to residents when the strategy was originally made public. He will present a report to Cabinet on 8 October to recommend that the strategy is revised to make it clear that we will not be removing any play areas and will be working with the community to agree any changes.

What are the next steps?

If approved by Cabinet, the assessment of existing play areas and suggested changes will also be scrapped to make it clear that no decisions have been made.

Councillor Walker will also be recommending that the classification of play areas will be removed so there is no impression that some areas are more important than others, when in reality even small areas can have significant local value.

We will now re-start the consultation with local councillors and in the spring next year a full public consultation exercise will begin. Details of this will be announced at a later date.

Cllr Walker said:

“When I came in as the new Cabinet Member for Culture and Environment our Playable Spaces Strategy was in the spotlight and I think it’s fair to say it grabbed people’s attention. So I wanted to take stock and consider the many comments that we had received before deciding on the best way forward.

It’s clear that people care about their local play areas and that is a great starting point because that is what this has really always been about – what residents want.

This is a scheme that looks at speaking to local people about what they want from their local play areas. Unfortunately, we didn’t make this clear enough form the start and I now want to put that right.

This is not a change to policy, this was always the intention, but I hope that by revising the policy to make our intentions clearer that the community are given the re-assurance that they need.

We would still looking at introducing more natural types of play equipment – as it has many benefits – but only where it is appropriate and wanted by local residents. We need to consider whether what we have in our play areas is still appropriate. That can only be determined by an open conversation and consultation with the local community.

We also want to do more to support children and their families to use the parks and to live healthy lives.

I very much hope that the conversation can now move on to one centred on how we can make best use of these areas for the benefit of the local community, and spend the money wisely.”

What will happen to the equipment in the meantime?

In the meantime and during the consultation we will still have to maintain and repair equipment, and there may be opportunities as part of that to do something different. However, no changes will be carried out without consultation with local members and the community.

 

7 comments

  • When is Holroyd Park going to get its Play equipment back? It was removed a year ago and since then the anti social behaviour has gone up and families aren’t going there anymore. It just shows what an impact on the community one play area has.

  • You want natural play, but how about making games on the floor. So many places are all equipment but sometimes it could be something much simpler that’s needed.
    For example using markings in grass or on hard surfaces… for say a maze, or human noughts and crosses, snakes and ladders, or hopscotch boards, that can be played between groups of friends or family for even solo.
    Using or recycling tyres for a leapfrog trails.
    You could have pockets of play.
    Like…trees that have had to be felled could be used to make seesaws, using the stump of the trunk and the wood from the felled tree, or wooden quiditch type posts with holes in to encourage hand eye coordination in a throwing game, or make a glockenspeil or wind chimes for music play from wood or metal tubes. Have seen the latter in play areas in USA and the kids love it.
    Or a ball and socket pivoting rocking roundabout, similar to witches hat of old, but much shorter and not pointy.
    Hope the consultation goes well as kids need to be encouraged to do more outdoor activities and hands on play.

  • Veronica Allinson

    We would like to create a Boules/petang Court on some available land nearby.. How can we get that funded sorted? This will contribute to adult wellbeing and outside activity.

  • Hoping that provision of a play area in the Fieldhead, Birstall area is reconsidered under this consultation – part of the deal when regenerating housing was to replace play equipment that was removed to allow the building of new housing, and this hasn’t materialised. Lots of disappointed residents and children with nothing to do.

  • Please sort out the children’s play area on New Street Golcar. If new play equipment is not to be installed, then at least make it into a flat safe area where hop scotch, boules, skittles etc can be played by small children.
    There are many families with toddlers, pre schoolers and under 8s on the road who would like to use it.
    If all the bushes round it were kept well trimmed so it could be seen by everyone, it would not attract the teenagers who may want to cause damage.

  • The play area on the Howden Clough football field desperately needs to be given a clear up and play equipment for 0-5 year olds. Parents and carers would maje really good use of this area if it were cleared of dangerous items and given a suitable age group – swing , slide , recycled tyres for stepping stones , climbing frame . The zip wire is good that is there but totally unsuitable for small children . Please can this area be considered for refurbishment ?

    • Hi Karen, all of the play areas will be considered, we will be asking local communities for their input, watch this space to find out how you can get involved

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