4. How to spend money available for play
Please make sure you read the 'How can we access play, open space and sports money' guide first.
The group (our officers and your town or parish council steering group) must work together to:
- Look at how much money is available for play and where it could be spent. This is within usually 600 metres of the development the section 106 contribution has come from.
- Look at your parish plan or neighbourhood plan if you have one. This is a useful starting point and may help you decide where to spend the money.
- Consult local children on what they do and don’t like about play areas and what the important activities are in a play area for example, sliding, climbing, rather than ask them to select specific pieces of equipment. This ensures that the play companies have some flexibility and can perhaps put in new and exciting pieces of equipment the children may not know about. The Community Engagement Officer has examples and documentation to help.
- Send at least four play companies an invitation to tender detailing what you want them to provide and what your budget is. If it is a council owned play site, then we will do this for you. If it’s owned by you or the community then we can help you with this process.
- Your steering group should discard any of the designs that come back and don’t meet the brief and/or the budget. They should end up with a short list of about three designs for the community to vote on.
- Plan and hold a play event and/or go into local schools and encourage children and young people from within the parish to take part by voting for the play area they want. A play event could include face painting, games, or circus skills. A small amount of the section 106 money is set aside to pay for consultation. The voting could be held as part of a local event, for example a village fête. Alternatively nearly all schools are keen to get involved in local community projects so the voting could be held as part of an assembly. You just need to make sure that you get the views of the right age ranges.
- Whichever play area design receives the most votes is the one that will happen.
- Our Planning Obligations Officer will ask Ward Members for comments to use in a report for the senior management team. This gives a final opportunity for issues that may affect the project (that the Officers have not already been made aware of) to be considered. The results are reported along with comments from Ward Members to our senior management team for approval, and the steering group reports to the parish/ town council. A legal contract must be set up by us between the landowner of the site and us. A contract must be signed with the play company, and a legal contract must be set up by us between the landowner of the site and us.
- The organisation delivering the project should invoice EDDC (detailing VAT and an invoice number) with supporting invoices from the contractor.
- Once the play area is built an opening event is organised. Members of the community, councillors, developers whose money contributed to the play area, and the local media should be invited.
- In the unlikely event of any discrepancies, the final decision as to which project(s) are supported lies with us and ward councillors as custodians of section 106 monies.