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Norfolk council to boost ‘sorrowful’ play area with £200,000 of new equipment

PUBLISHED: 14:43 22 January 2019 | UPDATED: 14:47 22 January 2019

Pictured, what Dereham Town Council hope the play area will look like. PHOTO: RUSSELL PLAY

Pictured, what Dereham Town Council hope the play area will look like. PHOTO: RUSSELL PLAY

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A Norfolk town council could be set to transform a children’s play area they described as “sorrowful” in time for the summer months.

Dereham Town Council (DTC) has submitted a planning application for a new play area in Toftwood, consisting of 40 new pieces of play equipment, an adventure trail and a BMX track.

The equipment, which would be located at Hillcrest Avenue pond, known as Pond Park, in Limassol Way, will cost the council £200,000.

And if approved, the plan would be the third play area installed by the council in the last four years, and take their total investment in children’s play since then to half a million pounds.

A spokesperson for DTC said: “When the town council took over the play areas in 2015 there was a deficit in children’s play space in Dereham. There was also a quality deficit with all play areas being classed as poor quality - the lowest score possible.

Pictured, what Dereham Town Council hope the play area will look like. PHOTO: RUSSELL PLAYPictured, what Dereham Town Council hope the play area will look like. PHOTO: RUSSELL PLAY

“Funding for the play area will mainly come from the town council and section 106 funding, with additional application for funding being made to the Lottery, the Tesco Bags for Life scheme, and Breckland Council.

“It is hoped that the new play area will be installed ready for the summer.”

Ann Bowyer, chairman of the town council’s recreation committee said: “These play areas were in a sorrowful state when we took them over.

“While the deficit in playing space still exists, I am pleased that the town council has supported investment in the quality of children’s play areas.

Pictured, what Dereham Town Council hope the play area will look like. PHOTO: RUSSELL PLAYPictured, what Dereham Town Council hope the play area will look like. PHOTO: RUSSELL PLAY

She added: “Good quality play areas are vital for children to fully develop physically and socially.”

A Breckland Council spokesperson said the council “transferred play areas to town councils between 2012 and 2016”.

They added: “This was so decisions about play provision could be made at a local level, with town councils able to respond to the changing needs and requests of their residents.

“Dereham town council received ownership of nine sites, including Toftwood, in December 2014, with agreed funding of £135,581 to pay for new equipment, maintenance and insurance.

“We always welcome grant applications for improvements to the area and wellbeing of residents.”

The application is currently under review, with a decision expected by January 25, 2019.

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