Community protests help save under-threat Hitchin children’s playground – after council confirms removing Brook View from ‘closure’ list
- Credit: Archant
It’s official! A much-loved children’s playground under the threat of closure has been saved – after the council admitted people power played a part in their verdict.
At a cabinet meeting of North Herts District Council tonight councillor Jane Grey told the chamber that Brook View was to be removed from its list of 14 playgrounds under threat in Hitchin and the area.
A Comet investigation found the cost to maintain Brook View over the next three years was factored at £2,200 per annum – meaning a total of £6,600 was set to be saved by closing the playground.
The play area had also been earmarked for a future revamp costing £75,000, which will now also be avoided, giving a total saving of £81,100. The council also disclosed the capital cost to remove the existing facilities would be £5,000 – meaning the overall total the district council is set to save by closing Brook View would be £76,100.
However the unpopular plans which saw an outpouring of opposition from angry local mums and tots – with a number of children at the time admitting they burst into tears when they heard the plans to close it.
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But those tears are now set to turn to tears of joy after the council sensationally confirmed it was to reverse its decision tonight and shelve the plans.
Speaking about the decision to remove the playground from its list of 14 playgrounds targeted councillor Grey said: “There was a lot of interest in the story and in the local press. There was particular concern about the proposed removal of play equipment from Brook View.
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“The Brook View play area was the only play area included to have equipment removed that had been identified as medium use and had originally been included due to its close proximity to another play area.
“However, the consultation revealed the two play areas served different sections of the community and proposals have been updated to retain Brook View.”
Reacting to this decision to keep Brook View open Labour district councillor Judi Billing said: “This is great news. The local community did a great job – but it’s still desperately wrong to close Dacre Road playground and the closure must be rethought.”