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Agenda item

Play Area Strategy 2020-2030 - Consultation Responses and Outcome

Report No. C/19/48 considered the draft Play Area Strategy 2020-2030 as presented to Cabinet on 11/12/2019. The report detailed how high quality play areas will be provided and maintained throughout the District over the next ten years. Cabinet resolved:

 

1.    That report C/19/48 be received and noted

2.    That the suggestion of sites to be sold in respect of non-strategic play areas be removed

3.    That the principles of the draft Play Area Strategy 2020-2030 and associated action plan be approved

4.    To proceed to formal consultation

5.    That a report be brought back to Cabinet following formal consultation with a view to approving the Strategy from 1st April 2020

 

These resolutions have been actioned with the formal consultation beginning 20/12/2019 and concluding on 31/01/2020. This report summarises the consultation responses and minor amendments to the strategy.

 

Minutes:

Report No. C/19/48considered the draft Play Area Strategy 2020-2030 as presented to Cabinet on 11/12/2019. The report detailed how high quality play areas will be provided and maintained throughout the District over the next ten years. Cabinet resolved:

 

1. That report C/19/48 be received and noted

2. That the suggestion of sites to be sold in respect of non-strategic play areas be removed

3. That the principles of the draft Play Area Strategy 2020-2030 and associated action plan be approved

4. To proceed to formal consultation

5. That a report be brought back to Cabinet following formal consultation with

a view to approving the Strategy from 1April 2020

 

These resolutions have been actioned with the formal consultation beginning 20/12/2019 and concluding on 31/01/2020. Report C/20/04 summarised the consultation responses and minor amendments to the strategy.

 

Mr Andy Blaszkowicz, Director – Housing and Operations, presented this report and advised members the consultation results have been published on the Council’s website.

 

Councillor Gane noted Densole Way LEAP will be adopted by Folkestone Town Council, this is incorrect and Mr Blaszkowicz is aware and will amend accordingly.  He also mentioned that any reference to Cheriton Park should read Cheriton Recreation Ground and that South Cheriton Action Group no longer exists. 

 

Councillor Mullard raised a query about the three play areas in St Mary in the Marsh, two of which are closed.  He mentioned a new housing development in the area and consideration be given to the regeneration of these closed areas.  Mr Blaszkowicz gave assurance that an officer would be in contact. 

 

Further points raised by members: 

 

  • Dowry payments.  S106 monies will take precedence if they were available as they are larger sums. 
  • Timescales; a suggestion for reviews every three years, however this strategy will be under constant review.  . 
  • Consultation timings spanned over Christmas and New Year with a deadline at the end of January 2020 which seemed impractical.  Members had received comments from consultees that this time of the year is not ideal. 
  • Play deprivation – this needs to be borne in mind in current situation. 
  • Deprivation Indices used in report are from 2015 however 2019 figures are available. 
  • The importance of green spaces especially at the present time, members asked if there is a guarantee that these would not be developed for housing in the future.  It was confirmed there are no plans for development at present and that this is not a focus for this strategy. 
  • Parish and Town Councils are encouraged and empowered to provide facilities in their local area and are best placed to do this.
  • Currently, transfers are taking place with Folkestone Town Council, Sandgate Parish Council, New Romney Town Council and conversations are taking place with Lydd Town Council.  Any other strategic play areas that are not adopted by Town or Parish Councils will be reviewed at a later date. 
  • The Play Strategy is due to be approved by Cabinet shortly and notwithstanding the current situation work will continue on transfers. 
  • The £20K budget mentioned in the report, this was clarified as funding across the whole district for maintenance of play areas, however it does not include labour costs, the Coastal Park or the Royal Military Canal Play areas, these have their own budgets.  . 
  • A member raised a concern regarding Hawkinge not having a designated Priority Play Area. It was confirmed that Hawkinge had many play areas but none of them were big enough to be designated as PPA’s. Officers are always keen to work with Town Councils over future development of existing play sites.

 

Councillor Miss Susan Carey submitted a question, prior to the start of this meeting, which is detailed below along with a response. 

 

The capital cost of play equipment can often be found from grants and local fundraising efforts but maintenance, regular health and safety inspections and replacement of older equipment are significant ongoing costs. During the quarantine for Covid-19 play areas were out of bounds to reduce the risk of transmission of the virus although it seems children are both less susceptible to catching or transmitting it and that being in the open air also appears to reduce transmission. Whilst the document before us tonight is a strategic one, are there considerations about play equipment, hygiene and social distancing that we should be taking account of in the light of the ongoing pandemic?

 

Mr Aarron McKinney, Building Surveyor, read out the following response. 

 

The council has worked closely with community groups, charitable organisations, local and County Council grant funding to provide major play area projects in recent years.  Most notably the Radnor Park Community Group successfully lobbied and fundraised for the renovation of Radnor Park play area and the subsequent accessible swing and fitness area.  The council will continue to work closely with our partners to deliver key projects going forward.

 

The ongoing maintenance of play areas is a challenge recognised with the Play Area Strategy, FHDC will work closely with Town & Parish Councils throughout the asset transfer and will provide a 5 year maintenance dowry.  It is clear that Town & Parish Councils are uniquely positioned to provide and maintain high quality play areas as demonstrated in our district.

 

Throughout this challenging time FHDC are continuing to work closely with our partners and are following government guidelines at every step, unfortunately this has required us to close play areas and outdoor gyms.  We look forward to the opportunity to re-open these sites but are fortunate that our district has brilliant green spaces to be enjoyed.

 

Mr Blaszkowicz added that daily updates on the pandemic are provided to the Council from the Kent Resilience Forum.  Play areas will remain closed at present and reviews on opening will be taken once further guidance is received. 

 

Proposed by Councillor Rebecca Shoob

Seconded by Councillor Patricia Rolfe and

 

RESOLVED:

To receive and note report C/20/04.

 

The Chairman sought and received affirmation from all members present.    

Supporting documents: