Want to keep your community playground? Run it yourself, North Herts District Council suggests

Parents and children at the Brook View playground in Hitchin, one of the playgrounds for which the c

Parents and children at the Brook View playground in Hitchin, one of the playgrounds for which the council has ultimately confirmed funding. - Credit: Archant

Community groups have been invited to take over the ownership and maintenance of children’s play areas, after councillors resolved they could no longer fund them.

North Herts District Council says it can no longer pay to maintain 13 play areas in Hitchin, Letchworth, Baldock, Royston and Great Ashby – a part of Stevenage that comes under the district council’s remit.

And it has called on community groups interested in retaining their play areas to put forward proposals to fund the ownership, maintenance and, where required, replacement of play equipment.

Councillor Jane Gray, the district council’s executive member for leisure, said: “We know how much people treasure the play areas across the district and for this reason we must strive to ensure their survival in the long term. Unfortunately, as we all know, the funding structures that have been in place until now are being seriously eroded at all levels.

“To protect our play areas and other facilities, and our much-loved green spaces themselves, we have had to make some difficult decisions to implement bold new ideas.

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“As part of this strategy we hope that community groups will come forward to play a vital role in championing and supporting parks. We will give them as much support as possible to do so effectively.”

The play areas at risk are Dacre Road, Rosehill and Symonds Road in Hitchin, Jackmans, Linnet Close and Oaktree Close in Letchworth, Ivel Road in Baldock, Betjeman Road and Farriar Court in Royston, and Chilterns, Cleveland Way, Fairfield Crescent and Merrick Close in Great Ashby. Those interested have until March 1, 2018, to make proposals.

For more see north-herts.gov.uk/home/parks-and-open-spaces/managing-play-area.

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