Michael Peel, a resident in Lincoln’s West End, provided the Commons Advisory Panel with a presentation which set out a proposal to construct a children’s play park with a view to improving recreational use of the West Common.
Mr Peel was of the opinion that there were no suitable recreational facilities in the West End for families and felt that the people of Lincoln and the West End deserved a play park to be proud of.
He explained that he was a Corporal in the Royal Air Force and represented over seventy military families in the West End. The Military Covenant sought to encourage integration between military and residential communities and funding could be available via the Covenant to support the proposed children’s play park. Other funding, such as Section 106 Agreement funding, the Royal Airforce Benevolent fund, the National Lottery and funding from any other third parties, could also potentially be used to support the project.
Mr Peel outlined two proposed sites that could be used for the proposed play park as follows:
· site A was located on a grassed area close to the Grandstand Community Centre, benefiting from being in a prominent location with good parking facilities and good access for disabled users. Unfortunately, the site was not enclosed and it was close to a main road, a busy stables and the golf course;
· site B was located on the disused bowling green on the West Common, which was already enclosed and was sited further away from the main road. However, the site was quite secluded, there were no parking facilities close by and access for disabled users was poor.
Plans and illustrations showing how the play park on both of these sites would look once built were circulated at the meeting.
A question was raised as to the estimated cost of building the play park. Mr Peel referred to play parks that had been built at RAF Waddington, which were slightly smaller and had cost £250,000. He had received an opening quote of £350,000 for the play park he had presented at the meeting.
Mr Peel reported that he had liaised with the Council’s legal team who had confirmed that site B, in principle, would be satisfactory from a legal perspective. It was noted that such a proposal would require planning permission and that the necessary public consultation would be undertaken as part of any associated planning application.
The Commons Advisory Panel agreed that site A was not suitable for the proposed children’s play park.
Reference was made to the potential for vandalism to occur on the play park should it be built in respect of site B, but it was noted that CCTV was already in place in the area and could be extended to this site. It was also noted that if the Council had evidence of vandalism, it would prosecute.
The Chair made the point that a funding stream for maintenance would also need to be identified. Mr Peel informed the Panel that a twenty-year warranty for faults or problems would be in place for the equipment he had been quoted for, but appreciated that maintenance such as grass cutting would need to be paid for continuously. He also appreciated the potential for vandalism, especially with site B being as secluded as it currently was. He was keen to explore ways to mitigate this and felt that CCTV was a very good deterrent.
Steve Bird, Assistant Director of Communities and Street Scene at the City of Lincoln Council, made the following comments:
· the principle of a play park in this area was included in the Council’s Play Strategy;
· the Council’s legal team had confirmed that site B would be legal, in principle, based on the information provided to it at the time;
· with regard to the capital funding for the project, Mr Bird confirmed that Section 106 Agreement funding could be used to support it, but that a significant injection of other funds would be required to secure the quoted £350,000;
· with regard to revenue funding, an ongoing fund would be required to maintain the play park in terms of its equipment, ground covering, boundaries and signing for example, but also to cover arrangements for inspecting the park and its equipment routinely to ensure that it complied with British Standards. Mr Bird offered to provide details of these estimated costs to Mr Peel.
The Commons Advisory Panel agreed, in principle, with the proposal for a children’s play park to be sited at the disused bowling club on the West Common.