Howzat! From left, Cllr Stuart Hughes, Chairman of East Devon District Council; Cllr Roger Giles, East Devon District Council ward councillor for Ottery St Mary Town and Mayor of Ottery St Mary, Cllr Glyn Dobson.

Early Christmas present for children and young people

Ottery St Mary children and young people have new equipment to play on this Christmas which they themselves have chosen – thanks to partnership working between East Devon District and Ottery St Mary Town Councils.

The Land of Canaan play area in the town now has a spanking new climbing frame – complete with monkey bars – and a new basket swing.

The councils have worked closely to spend £18,500 on the improvements. The money came from Section 106 agreements with developers who gave funding to the community for every new home in the town.

The district council chooses to involve the community in how the money is spent and Ottery St Mary Town councillors decided that it should be used to improve the range of play equipment on the popular site, making it suitable for all age groups.

Children from Ottery St Mary Primary School, The Kings School and Ottery Children’s Centre were asked by the district council what type of activities they wanted to see there. The children came up with a variety of designs and the council worked with several play companies, who developed proposals to incorporate the children’s ideas.

The designs then went back to the schools and the children’s centre and the youngsters voted for their favourite. The winning design, with 42% of the 328 votes, is the one that’s now been installed.

Cllr Iain Chubb, the district council’s Cabinet Member for the Environment, said:

A big thank you to all the children and young people in the town who gave their views on the type of equipment they wanted, and then voted on the resulting designs. The improvements look great and I hope they have many happy years of using the new equipment.

Mayor of Ottery St Mary, Councillor Glyn Dobson said:

Following the improvements made to the Winter`s Lane Playing Field in the Spring, Canaan Way is now another example of how the community working together can provide a facility that the children have requested, and I am sure they will enjoy it immensely.