Locals call on council to refurbish ‘eyesore’ Havant Play Park

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A PLAY park that ‘looks like a building site’ and has been in need of repair for months has left residents calling for the council to refurbish it completely.

According to locals, Havant Play Park cannot be enjoyed by families because much of its equipment is old, broken and not fit for purpose.

The playground

The playground

Almost 1,000 residents have signed a petition calling on Havant Borough Council to fully refurbish the town centre park.

The council said it will be replacing and repairing out-of-use equipment, but suggested community groups could unite to raise funds for a complete refurbishment.

Katie Weymes visits the park with her two children and said it is an eyesore.

The 33-year-old, who started the petition, said: ‘Even if the broken play equipment is replaced, the rest of it looks old and rusty, it looks like a building site.

Havant Play Park

Havant Play Park

‘For ages there has been wooden boarding up and barriers up against some of the equipment that’s meant to be in use.

‘Residents haven’t been kept informed about what’s going on at all.’

Last year the park’s roundabout was removed due to the roots of nearby trees lifting it up and the area is surrounded with safety fencing. 

Liz Overton, 40, visited the park regularly with her two children last year. She said: ‘We don’t bother anymore because repairs are taking so long and so much equipment is out of action.

Havant Play Park

Havant Play Park

‘It’s run down, which is a shame because it’s what people see when they come into town. This issue should be higher on the council’s agenda.’

Councillor Leah Turner, cabinet lead for planning, housing and communities, said a new roundabout will be installed once flexi-pave flooring has been fitted in the summer holidays. 

A spokesperson for the council said equipment out of use will be refurbished and replaced this week and added: ‘Other play areas in the borough have been dependent on community groups raising funds. We would be happy to provide guidance to anyone who wishes to take this forward.’

The play area Hayling Park, Hayling Island, has just been fully refurbished with 13 items of equipment. The project was funded by the council and community group Play Parks for Hayling, founded by Cllr Turner.

Havant Play Park

Havant Play Park

It will re-open on Saturday.

Councillor Richard Kennett has been working since May last year to have fencing installed at a park in Emsworth.

The play area, at the Redlands Grange housing development built in 2016, was an open space for two years up until now – and Havant Borough Council has promised more play equipment will be installed.

Cllr Kennett, who represents Emsworth, said: 'There's never been enough play equipment in that park.

'It was up until recently also an open space, so dog walkers and the associated mess has been a problem. 

'I've been working with the council since last May to have the equipment moved over and fenced off so families can enjoy their time there without any worries. 

'Most of the fencing is now in, we're just waiting for the gates so it's fully secured, and better equipment.’ 

A spokesperson for Havant Borough Council said: ‘The work to install the fencing and gates is being carried out by Norse South East who are currently awaiting the delivery of the gates, which have been ordered.

‘The work to install extra play items will be undertaken by a play contractor.' 

Cllr Kennett thinks Havant Play Park needs to be updated, and added: ‘I use Havant Play Park with my four-year-old and there's a lot of work to be done there to get it up to a state I think the council would want, it needs to be done as soon as possible.'

Click here to view the petition.