Kirklees Council’s plans to revitalise play areas across the borough has grabbed the public’s attention.
The Playable Spaces Strategy is a £9.5million council investment to improve all public play areas and spaces across Kirklees.
There are currently 314 play areas with equipment managed by the council across Kirklees, which is more than Bradford and Leeds combined. This is something the council is proud of and has no plans to close any of them.
The Playable Spaces scheme will see 177 of these parks having their equipment upgraded, to ensure it’s less than 15 years old. This will mean 90 per cent of residents will have at least one equipped play area 700m away from their home.
The other 137, which are smaller in size, will remain as public play areas but will potentially provide a different offer. They will be made up of natural play features such as boulders, logs, appropriate planting and new landscaping. This is to encourage adults and children alike to be able to use them, promoting a healthy lifestyle.
Before the proposals were drafted the council conducted a thorough engagement process with residents and local stakeholders, as well as Public Health, to identify the need in each area. Population, the condition of current equipment and social issues in each area, such as deprivation, were all factored in.
Since being approved by Kirklees Council’s Cabinet on 19 March, residents have been engaging with the proposals in high numbers.
A consultation and engagement process will be taking place in the coming months and the council is encouraging all residents to share their views as part of this. No changes will be made until the consultation is conducted.
A Kirklees Council spokesperson said: “We are delighted to see that so many residents care so passionately about their local play areas and spaces and it’s a credit to Kirklees as a borough that we have so many.
“We want to make it perfectly clear that we have no plans to close any of these play areas. We’re planning to change some of them making sure that our play areas deliver variety. We fully understand how big a need there is for play equipment in our public spaces and we’re confident that this need will be met.
“However, what we need more of is open public spaces that everyone in Kirklees can use for a variety of different activities and that’s what this plan will achieve. We have already extensively consulted on what we might be able to offer and this formed part of the strategy.
“We want communities to help us get this right and that’s why we’re encouraging everyone to take part in the upcoming consultation so they have their say and we work together to ensure that sites meet our communities’ needs.”
Engagement and consultation events are currently being organised. In the meantime you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or concerns.