Residents complaints kill off Fareham play area

112058-970_NO_PLAY_PARK_SR_7/6/11'The park near Bishopsfield Road in Fareham where the council stopped building a play area after local residents protested.''Picture:Steve Reid 112-58-970
112058-970_NO_PLAY_PARK_SR_7/6/11'The park near Bishopsfield Road in Fareham where the council stopped building a play area after local residents protested.''Picture:Steve Reid 112-58-970
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grassland dug up to build a new play park was filled back in almost immediately by a council – after complaints from residents.

Fareham Borough Council had wanted to build a play area between Malvern Avenue and Bishopsfield Road.

But neighbours say the first they knew about the project was when contractors arrived on site.

A campaign was quickly mobilised, and after more than 120 signatures were collected, the council agreed to stop the work and return the land to how it was.

John Davies, of Malvern Avenue, said: ‘I was quite annoyed when I saw they were digging it up – I complained bitterly to the council. We weren’t advised at all. The whole way it’s been dealt with has been a shambles, we weren’t advised at all around here.’

Ward councillor Trevor Howard said: ‘No-one told us ward councillors it was going ahead.

‘We’re very short of space here in this ward, so I was pleased something was being done, but it sounds like things have been done the wrong way round.

‘The money had been set aside, but there’s no getting away from the fact that money has been wasted here. At the moment we’re in limbo until they work out what’s going to happen.’

The council ran four consultation sessions last June, but these mainly targeted young people, asking what they would like to have in a play area.

The money came from a £50,000 grant from the government’s play builder initiative, and the council has said this would not cost its residents any money.

Cllr Connie Hockley, who is in charge of leisure matters for the council, said: ‘What’s happened is unfortunate and it’s very sad.

‘It was never our intention to upset people. We’re looking at various options and I’m sure we will be able to find a solution that will make everybody happy. But we also want to do as much as we can for young people. There will be more consultation.’

A report will go before councillors on June 29.