Bexhill playground set for overhaul?

Bending Crescent play area
Bending Crescent play area

A play area in Bexhill could get a revamp if funding for new equipment can be found, council bosses said this week.

Rother District Council (RDC) is exploring ways in which the facility in Bending Crescent could be improved and has held informal consultation sessions with residents to gauge the opinion of park users.

Officers visited the site three times during this month to speak to families using the park, find out how they use it, what equipment they like and do not like and what they would like to see should the facility be given an overhaul.

The authority said it regularly reviews its play areas to check the safety and suitability of the equipment and had identified Bending Crescent for possible improvement work.

Councillor Jonathan Johnson, Rother District Council’s portfolio holder for young people and sport, said: “We recognise play is a very important part of a child’s life and are aware that more could be done to improve play opportunities in Rother.

“In 2012, we carried out a complete refurbishment of the town’s biggest play area in Egerton Park, creating a great space for children of all ages and abilities.

“We have seen the benefits of this investment and while there isn’t scope to make changes on this scale at every play area, we hope to be able to give communities more exciting and challenging play areas near to their homes.”

The council said the equipment in Bending Crescent play area is more than 12 years old and did not always appeal to older children.

The facility caters for toddlers to children aged 10.

Regular reviews of play equipment by district council officers and comments from residents led to discussions about improvements at the site.

Cllr Johnson said: “I would like to reassure residents the equipment at Bending Crescent is perfectly safe to use and is regularly checked, but we want to ensure that all our parks include the best equipment possible.

“While we are keen to make improvements at Bending Crescent, we are at the start of the process, and will have to identify funding before we can move ahead with any plans.”

The play area currently includes cradle swings, a spring animal and a see-saw for toddlers and young children, and flat seat swings, a roundabout, a slide and a climbing frame for slightly older children.

Officers will be investigating options for new equipment that could potentially be installed and will draw up designs, before holding a second consultation later this year.

Details of the consultation have yet to be confirmed, but the district council is keen to get the opinion of as many users as possible and will be liaising with schools.

Once a final design is agreed, officers will need to identify funding before the plans can become a reality.

“We are in the very early stages of the process and would ask residents to bear with us while we work on designs and identify funding that will enable us to carry out improvement work,” Cllr Johnson said.

Rother District Council manages 16 play areas in Bexhill. Egerton Park play area had a complete refurbishment in 2012. Facilities include a sand play area, large climbing unit, swings, roundabouts and seating, as well as a sculpture created by artists Joc Hare and Leigh Dyer.

The authority is responsible for the upkeep of more than 30 outdoor play facilities in the Rother area, most of which are in Bexhill, Battle and Rye. These include equipped children’s play areas and play facilities for teenagers such as skate-parks, basketball hoops and five-a-side goals.

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