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East Devon to spend £1 million improving play parks

Glen Farm Play Area in Honiton artist impression (Image East Devon District Council)

24 projects approved

In total, 24 projects were unanimously agreed to be added at the cabinet meeting this week. The funding for the schemes totals more than £2.27m, although not all of the funding comes from East Devon council coffers.

The projects also include improvements to car parks across the region, providing a summer camper van parking facility in Exmouth, coastal defence improvements, as well an upgrade of the IT system that councillors use.

No date for when the work on the projects will be completed has been decided.

The schemes had previously been discussed by the Capital Allocation Strategy Group, who recommended 24 of the 29 schemes to be added to the capital programme.

At the cabinet meeting, Cllr Philip Skinner, deputy leader of the council, said it was wonderful news that more than £1m of discretionary funding was to be spent on improving playparks in the region, and that figure didn’t include the £150,000 spent last year on the Phear Park skatepark.

Cllr Geoff Pook added: “Over £1m of money is being put into play parks so we are doing a lot for our residents, so let us celebrate what we are doing.”

The report to the cabinet said that when replacing play equipment, the option to enhance or improve the equipment, rather than replace it ‘like-for-like’, should be taken.

It said: “The enhanced option concurred with the council’s adopted plans, including green spaces, which advocated enhanced facilities. Evidence from schemes such as the play equipment on Queen’s Drive showed that there was a demand for more enhanced play areas as a more attractive option to the traditional schemes. The Group were in agreement to recommend the play area bids to Cabinet at the enhanced level.”

It comes as the council has announced that £130,000 work on improvements in the St Marks and Glen Farm play areas in Honiton will begin this month.

Work is due to begin at St Marks play area from January 7 and at Glen Farm play area from January 21.

The two newly designed play areas will provide a range of exciting activities requested by children and young people, with new rope climbing structures, trampolines, group swings and track riders.

The two projects were already part of the council’s capital programme.

THE PROJECTS ADDED TO THE CAPITAL PROGRAMME ARE:

  1. Brixington play area, Exmouth enhanced site £100k (part funded externally £6,985)
  2. Budleigh Salterton skate park £150k (part funded £35k)
  3. Car park improvements (including Exmouth Echelon car park, Honiton Lace Walk, Sidmouth Bowling Club, Sidmouth Manor Road, Sidmouth Mill Street, Sidmouth Ham East, Exmouth Rolle Mews) £90k;
  4. Cherry Close Honiton play area enhanced site for £75k.
  5. Exmouth beach study to cover a review of the 2015 Beach Management Plan, and feasibility of beach recharge and beach structures to maintain an amenity beach at Exmouth £80k (part funded £60k);
  6. Exmouth campervan & boat park £150K, consisting of a realignment of Exmouth Estuary Lorry Park to provide winter boat storage and summer camper van parking with associated waste facilities and service (phased over 2020 – 2022);
  7. Exmouth groyne navigational markers which need replacement due to corrosion £35k.
  8. Foxhill Axminster play area enhanced site £120k (part funded £14,845);
  9. Imperial Recreation Ground parking improvements to realign existing parking bays to add over 30 additional spaces £55k (phased over 2019 – 2021);
  10. Maer Road car park Exmouth partial resurfacing £47K
  11. Membury Sump Trash Screen to replace the existing screen that is extremely difficult and hazardous to clear in flood conditions £30k
  12. Millwey Rise Axminster play area. It is estimated that all costs will be met by available section 106 funding of £136,629;
  13. Parks and play area fencing (various sites) £55k;
  14. Redgates Exmouth play area enhanced site for £100k (part funded £3,281).
  15. Rolle Mews Budleigh Salterton car park resurfacing £30k;
  16. Seafield Gardens Seaton play area enhanced site £100k;
  17. Seaton Coast Protection Scheme to improve the coastal defences between Heaton Hole and West Walk. £450k (part funded £300k subject to EA funding confirmation);
  18. Seaton Jurassic car park extension to clear disused scrubland to create an estimated additional 19 bays £85,600;
  19. Seaton skate park replacement of equipment £200k;
  20. Homesafeguard call handling system upgrade £44k (part funded £11k);
  21. Replacement of Big Belly bins with 240 litre standard bins £84,500 (phased across 2019 – 2021);
  22. Car parks capital maintenance covering relining at Sidmouth Roxburgh, Ham East/West and Manor Road, replacement lighting at Camperdown, repair of wall at Popular Mount Axminster, and minor drainage improvements to the cliff top car park at Beer £20k;
  23. Members IT system upgrades (Modern.gov) £48k;
  24. Automated mower trial £40k

 

The cabinet also agreed to defer the resurfacing of the Phear Park access road, at a cost of £99,000, from 2019/20 to 2020/21.

Repainting of the Greenway Lane footbridge in Budleigh Salterton has been deferred in order for the council to evaluate if it is more effective to replace or repair the bridge, while further investigations will be carried out before replacing the equipment at the Seafield Gardens outdoor gym in Seaton after questions were raised on the frequency of use of the equipment and how the location of it had a bearing on the corrosion level of the equipment.

Reinstating the footbridge at the Land of Canaan in Ottery St Mary has been removed from the programme as an alternative crossing nearby has better access, although Cllr Roger Giles said that he has had a ‘surprisingly large’ amount of complaints from residents about the bridge being removed and the crossing is not necessarily closer or more convenient, depending on where you walk from.

 

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