PLAYING UP!

PUBLISHED: 12:34 05 May 2006 | UPDATED: 21:51 28 May 2010

TENS of thousands of pounds could soon be spent on providing new play equipment across many of the neglected play areas in March. A team of four town councillors have visited all the play areas and open spaces and will now begin to decide where new play e

TENS of thousands of pounds could soon be spent on providing new play equipment across many of the neglected play areas in March.

A team of four town councillors have visited all the play areas and open spaces and will now begin to decide where new play equipment should be placed.

Their report, due to be revealed at Monday's Town Council meeting, could pave the way for a major public consultation programme once needs have been identified.

Councillors hope a partnership arrangement with Fenland District Council will prepare the way for a public exhibition of layouts and designs later this year at March Town Hall.

Play areas in Russell Avenue, West End Park, North Drive and The Avenue, could be among those to benefit from the new initiative.

The four councillors - Jan French, Barry Wales, John West, and Patsy Brewin - believe their report could provide a blueprint for other towns and villages in Fenland.

Cllr French, whose election as mayor is expected on Monday, says the money to pay for the new play equipment will come from Section 106 funding, cash provided by developers as part of the massive building programme in March in recent years.

She refused to comment until Monday how much money might be in the pot for March, but is hopeful it will be sufficient "to enhance the quality of recreation and play areas for local people".

She said close working with portfolio holders and officers at Fenland Council had enabled good progress to be made towards identifying the amount of money available and where it could be spent.

Fenland Council ring-fences 106 money for the towns or villages where it has been collected - and ironically it was Cllr French, in her role with the district council, who has helped streamline its collection.

"Now I'm hoping we get the opportunity to go out and consult with local people about what sort of equipment is needed," she said.

"In areas such as Russell Avenue, for example, we need to know more about what families live there and whether equipment should be provided for, say, the under fives or the over 10s."

She added: "By working in partnership with Fenland Council, I'm sure many other towns and villages will be able to achieve substantial benefits to their communities as well.

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