Monday, 14 June 2010

Council stripping Ridgegrove of play equipment - UPDATED

Cornwall Council has announced that they are to strip some of the play equipment from the Ridgegrove Estate and that they will not be replacing it. This is despite a site visit in January when an expert agreed that all the equipment was safe to use and only minor repairs were needed. Officers pledged then that the minor repairs (including to flooring) would be done.

For some reason, it appears that housing department officers decided not to undertake the repairs and a further inspection was organised for last week to which I was not invited. That found that one set of swings was not safe, would be ripped out and would not be replaced.

The inspection also decided that the floor matting would also need to be removed and not replaced.

The Ridgegrove play area issue has been dragging on for many months. Senior officer Mike Owen agreed in February with a plan to replace both play areas with a much more modern set of equipment but nothing has happened on this since then.

I think it is appalling that different departments of the council are trying to pass the buck to each other and all the while the Ridgegrove is losing its few remaining community facilities. The remaining play equipment will not last for longer than a further three years and I am told there is no money for any replacement.

Any family that wants to get to a play facility has to walk at least half a mile along main roads with no pavements and cross where there are no crossings.

I have asked the Cabinet Member for Housing, Mark Kaczmarek and Communities Director Gill Steward to meet me at the Ridgegrove as a matter of urgency so they can see for themselves how local people have been abandoned by Cornwall Council.

UPDATE - I've had an email from the Director of Communities:

"I am more than happy to meet on site. I have however, asked for a full update and will look at what I can do move things on in the short term. I am really sorry that this dragged on. It is as you say unacceptable and I have made that clear to officers concerned."

She's absolutely right to say it has been unacceptable.I'm grateful to her for recognising this and for promising action.

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