Play parks in Cheltenham to benefit from £80,000 yearly investment
IF heaven is a playground children in Cheltenham should be well served for the considerable future.
Borough Council bosses have committed to investing almost £500,000 over a five year period on revamping, refurbishing, and replacing the town's play parks.
The authority will spend £80,000 a year to ensure the parks continue to be improved and to make sure they meet safety standards.
The pledge to invest in the play areas comes despite the council having to deal with the financial pressures of a cut in central government handout and a reduced budget.
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Councillor John Rawson (LD, St Peters), cabinet member for finance, said: "The money we put into our capital budget for play areas is mainly to replace equipment which is getting towards the end of its useful life.
"For the sake of local children, it is obviously very important that all our equipment is as robust and safe as we can make it. We also like to be able to offer children as wide a variety of equipment as we can, so we add to our equipment where possible.
"In addition to the capital budget, we also use Section 106 money, developers' contributions from new developments, to provide new play areas where they are needed.
"For example, part of the Section 106 contribution from the Midwinter development was allocated to providing a new play area on Elmfield Park."
The £80,000 will be spent on capital works, providing new equipment and replacements in any of the 50 play areas managed by the council.
In 2012/13 some of the cash has been spent or is being spent on new equipment in the King George V play area in Hester's Way, the Elmfield play area, Montpellier Gardens play area as well as on new surfacing at Sandford Park play area just off College Road.
In the next financial year a portion of the money will be used to install equipment at King George V play area.
Meanwhile the busiest play park in Cheltenham in Pittville Park has been earmarked as a priority for the next 12 months.
Adam Reynolds, Cheltenham Borough Council parks development manager, said: "We put money aside every year as part of our on-going rolling programme to ensure that Cheltenham's play areas are kept in good condition, safe, vibrant, and offer the best possible play value to children using them.
"We consult with local children on any new schemes and choose equipment based on their ideas."