Sidbury young people and children have had their say on what they would like to see there

Furzehill play area in Sidbury is to undergo a major £30,000 refurbishment by East Devon District Council and local primary school children and young people from the area have now had their say on what they would like to see there.

Nearly all the play equipment, which has been there for more than thirty years, will be removed when work begins next year. The swing frames are likely to stay and be restored. As a good zip wire can cost around £15,000 and a basket swing can be about £2,000, the council is going to also investigate if they can potentially source some funding from other organisations to add to the £30,000 budget.

The council has been working with children at the local primary school to find out what they would like to see in the play park. Children and young people aged 14 and under living in Furzehill were also given the opportunity to have their say when district council ward member Cllr David Barratt and local resident Dan Turner delivered consultation packs about the new play area to local residents with council officers.

The results of the consultation show that the activities which are most popular with the children are climbing, spinning and bouncing, with particular equipment they wanted including a climbing frame, roundabout and a ground level trampoline.

There were many requests for a zip wire or a slide but these activities were less popular in the consultation and the council’s budget is limited currently to £30,000. There were also requests for swings and this supports the proposal to refurbish the swings already in the park.

The council will now spend some time trying to find extra money from other organisations. The council will then put the requests to companies that build play areas and ask them to propose a re-design of the play area based on what the children want and the amount of money available. The council will score the designs, including matching them to the activities the children and young people have asked for and the design with the highest score will be installed.

Cllr Barratt said:

I totally support efforts to pull in additional finance to add to the £30,000 already secured. We need to go through these next few steps so that the play area will be the best it can possibly be. I will be following the project timescale closely as I am really looking forward to actually seeing the newly refurbished area being used and enjoyed.

Cllr Tom Wright, East Devon District Council’s portfolio holder for the environment added:

Thank you to Sidbury Primary School for getting involved and to the other local children who had their say. It’s crucial for us to involve local children so they get what they want. We do this when money is spent on adding extra equipment into any of the play areas we run. It’s important that our young people are encouraged to be outdoors as much as possible for their health, wellbeing and socialising.