Views sought on play parks

Rosehearty Action Group members and Cllr Hamish Partridge with some of Rosehearty's younger residents.
Rosehearty Action Group members and Cllr Hamish Partridge with some of Rosehearty's younger residents.

A review of children’s play parks will be undertaken across Aberdeenshire and parents and children will be asked for their views as part of the process.

Councillors have instructed officers to undertake the review, aimed at providing the best quality play areas in the best locations with the money available.

There are currently 446 council play areas and key elements to be addressed include: equity and location of provision, play value, condition, safety, funding models, partnership working and maintenance and replacement regimes.

A nine month consultation exercise, including a series of public meetings and presentations, will now be undertaken following approval by members of Aberdeenshire Council’s Infrastructure Services Committee (ISC) last week.

The committee heard that around £550,000 is spent annually on managing and maintaining the sites. Over half that sum is required to ensure the sites are adequately inspected and repaired. This includes a thorough annual safety inspection to identify risk levels, overall conditions, Play Value and defects.

The remaining budget is available to fund upgrading and replacement of existing equipment. However, the costs associated with the purchase and installation of new equipment are substantial and the current budget gives limited opportunity for major improvements.

To refurbish a medium sized play park with around ten items of equipment costs in the region of £75,000.

The review will look at current play park provision and through the consultation phase gather the widest possible view on the existing play park portfolio.

ISC chair Peter Argyle asked that schools’ pupil councils be included in the consultation, and said: “We’re looking for as many responses as possible.”

For more information, including an indicative timescale for the consultation, the report to the committee can be found at http://bit.ly/1fsIMU7