A new zip wire at the Sidbury Furzehill play area has been made possible thanks to the Keith Owen Fund

Council grateful to Keith Owen Fund and Sidmouth Town Council for their financial contributions towards exciting play activities for young people in East Devon

Two play areas in Sidmouth and one in Sidbury are due to be revamped by spring next year thanks to the efforts of East Devon District Council which is investing £100,000 in the sites.

The Manstone and Sidbury Furzehill play areas received a £25,000 contribution from the Sid Vale Association’s Keith Owen Fund and Sidmouth Town Council contributed £5,000 to the Manstone site. The district council is contributing to both these sites and paying £55,000 for the refurbishment of the Stowford Rise play area in Sidmouth, which is at the end of Le Locle Close. In addition, Sidmouth Town Council and East Devon District Council will soon start working on a project to completely refurbish the Ham play area in Sidmouth, which is owned and managed by Sidmouth Town Council.

The level of money being provided will ensure that young people in the area get some outstanding new play equipment.

Local resident Dan Turner and the district council’s Sidmouth Rural ward member Cllr David Barratt are particularly delighted that the Sidbury Furzehill play area is to be renewed. Mr Turner contacted Cllr Barratt for help about the play area and they both championed for the site to be refurbished.

As part of the project, East Devon undertook extensive consultation with children and young people to help understand what activities they would like to see at the sites, with over 150 people taking part.

The consultation information was then issued to the council’s suppliers, who competed to provide the best designs across the three sites as part of the council’s tender process. A fantastic array of great quality designs were received by East Devon in response, and after evaluation against the consultation information Wicksteed Leisure Ltd was appointed to manufacture and construct the new play areas.

The three new play areas will provide a range of exciting activities requested by children and young people from area, including new trampolines, zip wires, swings and roundabouts. The addition of a zipwire at Sidbury play area was made possible thanks to a grant from the Keith Owen Fund.

The play equipment will be manufactured over the coming months with work to install the new play areas expected to start early in 2019. It is anticipated that the play areas will be completed and open for use by the end of March 2019. 

Cllr Tom Wright, East Devon’s portfolio holder for the Environment, said:

Thank you to all the local children and young people who got involved and had their say. We work with them when money is spent on adding extra equipment into any of the play areas we run. They will be able to play on the equipment when it’s installed and be able to say that they helped design the play areas they’re having fun on. A big thank you to the Keith Owen Fund and to Sidmouth Town Council for their help with funding these schemes so we could make the play areas even better.

Cllr Barratt said:

I’m particularly delighted with the Sidbury play area as it’s a great example of how a resident can approach his ward member and get some action.

The Chair of the Keith Owen Fund Committee said:

The Sid Vale Association is really happy to support these play area improvements through a grant from the Keith Owen Fund. The extra equipment will give many children in the Sid Valley even more chance to have fun, keep fit and enjoy being out and about in our wonderful surroundings.

Councillor Ian McKenzie-Edwards, Chairman of Sidmouth Town Council said:

This updating of play areas in the town is really great news for youngsters in the town. The contribution that the town council made to the Manstone site is part of a wider regeneration of that area of the town.