December 12 2013 Latest news:
By alex hurrell
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Mum power has helped persuade North Norfolk District Council to spend £100,000 upgrading its playgrounds.
Determined parents in Sheringham, Cromer and North Walsham have been campaigning for better play facilities for their children.
Their wishes look set to be granted on Monday when NNDC’s cabinet is expected to approve spending more than £77,500 on new equipment with a further £22,424 available if needed.
The major sum will buy a £8,200 “ranch” piece of equipment at Cromer’s Fearns Field playground, toddler and junior equipment worth more than £32,000 at the resort’s Meadow play area, £13,389 worth of equipment for toddlers at North Walsham’s Acorn Road play green, and more than £20,000 worth of activity pieces for children using Sheringham’s Cromer Road playground.
Rebecca Fish, spokesman for the Sheringham Play Park Revamp project which is aiming to overhaul the playground, said the cash would make a huge difference to the group which has been fund-raising for the past 14 months, and is £13,500 towards its £100,000 target.
“It will mean people can see something has actually been done. It will be used to provide some infant equipment,” she said.
The seven-strong group of mums, a professional nanny and a grandfather eventually plan to provide facilities for all ages.
Sheila Oxtoby, chief executive of NNDC, said a group of mums had also been campaigning for new equipment at The Meadow, in Cromer.
And in North Walsham mum Sophia Jackman has been leading a campaign since the beginning of the year for equipment suitable for toddlers on The Green, Acorn Road.
Tom FitzPatrick, leader of NNDC, said parish councils which owned their own playgrounds had been able to apply for cash to NNDC’s Big Society Fund to upgrade their facilities but it was “not appropriate” for the district council to use the fund for its own playgrounds and so £100,000 of capital funding had been set aside.
“We did not want our facilities to become in a worse condition than others. We want to bring it up to a certain standard. This is a one-off sum of money and the new equipment it buys will hopefully last about 15 years,” said Mr FitzPatrick.
“It’s important for parents and for visitors. If tourists come and see equipment in a poor condition it gives a bad impression of a place. They also want somewhere suitable for their children to play when they are visiting,” he added.
NNDC is responsible for 29 play areas throughout the district.
After an inspection in March this year pieces of equipment, including slides, were removed from Fearns Field, The Meadow and The Warren in Cromer, and from Cromer Road and Lawson Way in Sheringham because they had become unsafe.
Their disappearance prompted concern from residents and the decision by NNDC to fund improvements.