To receive a report from the Head of Housing and Property Services informing Members of the latest consultation with parishes, town council’s and the public on-line consultation on the future provision of play areas.
The Group had before it a report * from the Head of Housing and Property Services informing members of the latest consultation with parishes, town council’s and the public on-line consultation on the future provision of play areas.
The Open Spaces Manager informed the Group that a report had been presented to them on 10 March 2015, informing them of planned consultation with parish and town councils on the future provision of play areas and offering them the opportunity to take ownership. As a result of that report the Group had requested that officers consult with town and parish council’s regarding the future of 27 play areas listed in annex 5 of the report and set up a questionnaire on survey monkey to allow the public to comment on the future of the identified play areas.
The officer explained that 90 of Mid Devon’s play areas were located within the parishes of Tiverton, Cullompton, Crediton and Willand; which accounted for 84% of the total number. Taking this into account, arrangements to meet with each of these councils had been made. Consultation with the remaining parishes had been through letters and emails.
Officers had met twice with the Tiverton Town Council’s Finance Committee. The Town Clerk had confirmed that at a meeting of the Finance Committee on the 14 September the Town Council had agreed to make a contribution of £18,000 for the maintenance of Tiverton’s play areas.
Officers had also met with Cullompton Town Council on one occasion and had received the following points in a letter from the clerk.
· Cullompton Town Council had no objections to the closure of the play areas at Ash Drive and Conifer Close.
· The Council’s preference was that the play areas at Cross Parks and Swallow Way should remain open but it had no objections to the closure of any three of the following play areas: Spindlebury, Siskin Chase, Starlings Roost, Chaffinch Drive, Dove Close or Bullfinch Close.
· That Tufty Park and Headweir Road were protected from closure and that the Town Council would work with the authority to upgrade these play areas using Section 106 and Public Open Space monies and grant funding, with the proviso that Mid Devon kept the Town Council informed of what it intended to do.
The Officer confirmed that a meeting had taken place with Willand Parish Council and that clarification had been sought with regard to the lease or ownership of the play areas.
Crediton Town Council had yet to confirm their intentions.
Further feedback had been received from other parishes.
Information regarding the online survey, which had resulted in 490 responses, was provided within the report.
Discussion took place regarding:
· Further consultation was ongoing;
· The legal situation regarding sites that had been funded from Section 106 monies needed to be clarified;
· Possible covenants on land which meant it must be used as open space;
· The future use of land if play areas were decommissioned;
· The length of future lease agreements.
It was AGREED that a report be prepared for the next meeting of the Group with recommendations for proposed closures.
Notes: - * Report previously circulated and attached to Minutes.