To consider the report of the Head of
Consideration was given to the report of the Head of Community Services.
The Corporate Director Regeneration and Community Services advised that the report provided an update to the children’s play area sites and sought endorsement for the current work programme of the installation of the play equipment in sites which was identified following an extensive review of play areas undertaken and reported to Council in December 2018. The report outlined the rationale for the installation of new children’s play equipment purchased following funding received from Welsh Government through the All Wales Play Opportunities Grant (AWPOG). This funding was received at the end of the 2019/2020 financial year and a decision made under delegated authority due to being to being in lockdown to reallocate the funding originally identified for the Splash Park project. The Corporate Director advised that the decision to reallocate the funds was made as the Festival Park was no longer in a position to take forward the Splash Park project and the Council had to inform Welsh Government of how the funds would be used by the end of March 2020 or the funding would be withdrawn.
It was reported that an initial AWPOG grant of £117,000 was received in 2019/20 to support the implementing of the Play Sufficiency Action Plan. In March 2020 the Council was notified by Welsh Government of a further allocation of AWPOG funding and Parc Bryn Bach, Tredegar had recently benefited from new grant funding from Welsh Government from the Valleys Regional Parks as part of the Discovery Gateway Project. The new facility had been well received by visitors to the park.
The Corporate Director continued that the report identified the play area sites in areas of priority was based around play value, site access and usage levels. The play area sites identified and prioritised were detailed in Appendix 1 of the report. It was added that the 2018 Play Area Review identified a number of play areas that had little or no play value and it had been agreed with the Executive Member for Environment that further consultation would be undertaken with the respective Ward Members to discuss options for sites.
The Executive Member for Environment welcomed the investment into children’s play area as during lockdown these areas were critical to children’s well-being.
The Leader added that the original review undertaken in 2018 had been a Financial Efficiency Project (FEP) identified as part of the budget setting process. The review was agreed in 2019 and a great deal of work had been undertaken which continued against all recent challenges. The Leader felt that the continuation of this work recognised the Council’s commitment to play and the Health and Wellbeing Agenda remained.
RESOLVED that the report be accepted and Option 1 be endorsed for the installation of the already purchased play equipment into the sites as identified in the report and support further dialogue at a ward level in respect of the future of children’s play areas in line with the “Play Area Review” undertaken in December 2018.