Council set to decommission 9 local play areas in Billericay
Basildon Council has today (Wednesday 16th December) launched a public consultation on a ten-year programme around the future provision of play across the borough.
While the strategy being proposed by the current Labour-led Administration includes investment in some of our larger play facilities – including Outwood Common Open Space in my Billericay East ward – it also entails the closure of a large number of smaller local play areas (albeit, gratifyingly, none in Billericay East).
I warmly welcome the proposed investment in Lake Meadows, Hannakins Farms and the Queen Elizabeth II Playing Field at Sun Corner. This investment in Billericay is long overdue and will have my full support.
Play areas are, however, essential to the development of children and young people and we have seen this during the pandemic more than ever the crucial importance of having them nearby. The Council wants to prioritise quality over quantity but ALL residents should have access to a network of good quality play areas. They cannot simply be sacrificed in a bid to save money. We need to ensure that there is proper investment and that all our play areas as accessible and inclusive for all our children and young people, including those with disabilities.
Considering that Basildon Council is set to spend £8 million on a ‘Youth Zone’ in Basildon Town Centre, it seems that the Labour-led Administration want to give to Basildon’s teens by taking away from Billericay’s toddlers! The Youth Zone will be a centralised hub that will do little for my constituents in Billericay East or those in other outlying parts of the borough. This is why I am opposed to the Youth Zone. They want to spend millions on the Youth Zone (with a £400,000 annual running costs) when these play areas only need about £500,000 to be put right.
To that end, Billericay councillors will be looking closely at the play areas currently earmarked to be decommissioned. We strongly encourage residents to respond to the Council’s (admittedly loaded) consultation and, also, get in touch and let us know how you feel about your local play being closed.
The Administration’s proposals would see a reduction of 57 play areas, nine of which are in Billericay.
The consultation closes on Sunday 31 January 2021.
Take part by visiting www.basildon.gov.uk/playsurvey
Play areas in Billericay earmarked for closure are listed below. If you are concerned about the closure of your local play area, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The roads affected are as follows:
- Brandon Close
- Celadine Close
- Colville Mews
- Cornflower Gardens
- Devereux Way
- Horseshoe Close
- Lorrimore Close
- Mallow Gardens
- Woburn Place