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Thursday, December 7, 2023

Multi million pound boost to Bradford play areas will see 99 facilities upgraded

Almost 100 play areas across Bradford will undergo a refurbishment in the last stage of a multi-million pound play space upgrade.

The £6.3m plan to improve play areas was first announced in 2019, and a number of play areas have also been boosted.

A recent update on the scheme has revealed that by the end of the project, 90 per cent of the District’s play areas will have been refurbished.

The report also revealed that the programme needed to be boosted due to increased use of play areas during the pandemic – which meant some facilities needed repairing sooner than expected.

At a meeting of Bradford Council’s Executive on Tuesday morning, members approved the third stage of the work, which will involve improvements to 99 play areas. This phase will cost g £3.918m.

The first phase of the work involved the upgrade of the play area in Lister Park – the busiest play area in the District.

The second phase, which was completed in Easter, saw a number of other large play areas being improved.

At the Executive meeting members were told that the third phase will include most of the District’s remaining play areas.

The report pointed out that the scope of the project has changed since it was first announced in 2019. It said: “The pandemic led to far higher footfalls (when allowed) within play areas and play facilities across the District and in some cases increased and at times sustained Anti-Social Behavior incidents leading to damage to both equipment and safety surfacing.”

An extra 29 play areas have been added to phase three due to “recently being identified as requiring some refurbishment.”

The report added: “Phase three works will include an element of refurbishment to 99 equipped play areas resulting in 90 per cent of all such playable spaces receiving some investment from the overall programme.”

John Schofield,Amenity Manager for the Council, said: “This will encourage young people to participate in physical activity.”

The full list of play areas that will be upgraded has not been announced yet, but responses to questions at the meeting revealed they will include facilities in Baildon, Ben Rhydding and Oakworth.

Councillor Andrew Loy (Cons, Ilkley) asked if the refurbished play areas would be fully accessible for disabled children.

Mr Schofield pointed out that the money is going towards refurbishments of play areas, rather than wholescale changes. Although work would strive to make play areas more accessible, the budget could not pay for new, fully accessible play equipment at every site.

Her said: “We have almost 300 play facilities and just over £6m in the budget to improve them. If you do the maths it is clear we can’t have a brand new play area in every location.”

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