Plans to improve a number of a town’s play areas have taken a step forward.

Dereham Town Council have announced that a supplier has been appointed, and designs are currently being finalised as part of its £400,000 project to refurbish and improve play areas across the town.

These spaces include Sandy Lane, Girling Road, School Lane, and Dereham Recreation Ground. The council hopes that designs will be finalised in the next few weeks, and it will then have some visual images to share.

Hugh King, the mayor of Dereham, said: “I am really pleased this work is progressing, having good quality playing spaces, where children can socialise and be physically active is so important for their physical and emotional development."

Dereham Times: Hugh King, the mayor of DerehamHugh King, the mayor of Dereham (Image: Royal British Legion)

These projects will help address the lack of quality equipped play areas in the north of Dereham and refurbish two other play areas that have gone past their prime.

Mr King added: “Providing good quality play is also important for families in this cost-of-living crisis, being able to provide meaningful activities for children without incurring any additional costs, will make a real difference to families who are struggling financially. The play areas should start to be installed in late spring.”

This is part of a piece of work the town council started before lockdown - to assess the quantity and quality of children’s play spaces and areas for sport in Dereham.

The council say this work identified that there was a deficit in both the quantity and quality of both children’s playing space and formal sports pitches.

Dereham Times: The play area in Sandy Lane while it was padlocked The play area in Sandy Lane while it was padlocked (Image: Thomas Chapman)

Earlier this year, the Sandy Lane play area in the town was reopened following a £40,000 refurbishment. The play area was first padlocked shut in June 2021 after Breckland Council deemed it unsafe, with the long wait for a replacement leading to widespread frustration among families.