Play project cancelled

A HUGE project to create new play areas for youngsters in North Somerset has had its funding pulled due to Government cuts.

A HUGE project to create new play areas for youngsters in North Somerset has had its funding pulled due to Government cuts.

The Playbuilder scheme was set up to develop 22 wooden play structures in the district for youngsters aged eight to 14.

This year was the second year of the scheme, with some areas already completed in 2009, and it was originally planned that 12 more would be finished by December. This included plans for Clevedon, Portishead and Portbury.

However, now the funding has been pulled, it means these facilities will not go ahead unless money is found elsewhere or other projects take their place.

In Clevedon, proposals were originally put forward for a play area on fields next to The Barn in Great Western Road but town councillors felt a facility would be more appropriate at the Salthouse fields.

The project was only at the consultation stage and, while the Government funding has been pulled, councillors hope section 106 money, given by companies who have created developments in the town, could be used instead.

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Councillor Carl Francis-Pester said: “We are trying to discover how much 106 money is available and whether it could be earmarked for it.

“We also need to find out whether we need planning permission.

“However, we do want to tidy up the area of the Salthouse Fields by the tennis courts or make better use of it.”

In Portishead, there was a possibility of one of the wooden play areas being sited at the town’s Lake Grounds.

However, despite the funding no longer being available, it is hoped children in Portishead will not miss out thanks to the fact the town council has separate plans to install a space net climbing frame at the site by the end of this year.

However, youngsters in Portbury will miss out as a result of the funding cut.

Members of the parish council had been approached about the project and a site at the village playing field off Church Lane was identified as a possibility.

This was as far as the scheme had progressed when it was announced The Playbuilder scheme would be cancelled.

Parish council chairman Les Summerfield said: “Small villages always need something for the youth.

“We are disappointed from that point of view.

“I wasn’t really that surprised that the project was cancelled though - luxuries are going to be very few and far between for the next few years with this Government.”

Other areas that were due to receive new play areas included Congresbury’s Millennium Green and Hangstones in Yatton.

While it is thought Congresbury children will miss out, North Somerset Council has said it will support a wooden play area project in Yatton.