Promise not to close any Kirklees playgrounds as huge £9.5m revamp scheme gets go-ahead

There are 314 play areas in Kirklees but the Council said some have outdated equipment,
There are 314 play areas in Kirklees but the Council said some have outdated equipment,

Councillors in Kirklees have given their backing to a £9.5million scheme to improve play areas and promised not to close any in the borough.

Following Cabinet approval the council will begin consulting residents on what they want in their local play areas from spring 2020.

The aim of the scheme is to enhance all Kirklees play areas so they better meet local need.

Councillor Rob Walker, Cabinet Member for Culture and Environment, said: “When we launched our plan to do this earlier this year, some residents were concerned that we would be removing play areas or replacing the equipment with things they didn’t want.

“Let me be very clear, no play areas will be closed and improvements that are made will be shaped by local residents. This is not a U-turn, this has actually been the case from the very start.

“This scheme is about people in Kirklees. Improvements we make must be what the people who use our parks want and I wanted to make sure this was clear.”

There are 314 play areas in Kirklees but the Council said some have outdated equipment, some also have equipment which isn’t used by the local community.

Cllr Walker added: “Something we’re still interested in is introducing more natural looking play equipment where we can.

"Now this isn’t just rocks and logs, which has been reported, it’s any features which are made from natural materials.

"This would give a broader range of age groups the opportunity to enjoy our play spaces and it is shown to be good for mental health.

“We’d like to try this out but, I’d again like to be perfectly clear, we will only introduce this type of equipment where residents want it.”

The council will now re-start the consultation with local councillors and in the spring next year a full public consultation exercise will begin. Details of this will be announced at a later date.