Blandford play areas may get major revamp
A MAJOR refurbishment is planned for two of Blandford's children's play areas which have remained unchanged for more than ten years.
The parks at both Langton Road and Park Road could this year see a full upgrade of both equipment and surfacing to bring them into line with the latest priorities of encouraging youngsters to engage in more exercise and combat obesity.
Members of the town council's recreation and amenities committee received a detailed report at their last meeting on the options and costs of work for which they have been putting money aside over the last ten years.
It was stressed that all play equipment was subject to daily inspection to ensure that it met health and safety requirements, and was taken out of use immediately it failed, but also that the rides were out of date and in need of renewal.
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Chairman Lynn Lindsay said: "Playgrounds should have equipment that is challenging, and should involve children in learning special awareness and balance, not simply something they can sit on."
The report recommended that only the Langton Road area could be afforded with just under £55,000 available, but Councillor Steve Hitchings, chairman of Finance and works, suggested that unallocated interest from the council's investments could also be used.
Councillor Haydn White said: "We are expecting the largest baby boom since 1971 next year, and these upgrades are long overdue. It is in our strategic plan, and was a key feature in a recent youth survey."
It was agreed that using both budgets and possibly extra funding through grant applications, not only would the existing play areas be upgraded, but also a wall constructed for ball games at Langton Road, where an adventure playground theme is planned, a swing for disabled children costing around £5,000 at Larksmead in response to a specific request, and outdoor fitness equipment for adults costing £4,000, with financial assistance from the NHS and Friends of Blandford Hospital.