Thursday 24th March 2022 – UPDATE
We know how precious the park is to our community and are doing our best to improve the situation. We apologise for the delay and will explain here why this has happened. We will continue to provide regular updates following this notice, and hope to place a noticeboard in the play area in due course also, so park users can see updates that way, as well as across our social media channels and website.
As of 9th March 2022, we have now ordered two new pieces of play equipment for the park, to replace the damaged units. Repairs were not economically viable because both units had reached the end of their working life, so replacement was the best option for our community. We have ordered a new City Aerial Runway made by Playdale, to replace the existing one – the new one will be in steel for durability. We have also ordered a large, bespoke, play unit from Kompan – similar to the existing one in the sandpit area that it will replace. Images and further information will be added shortly.
We understand the frustrations and distress with the time this has taken. A combination of Covid limitations and due legal process has made the time period longer than standard, for which we sincerely apologise. We do have legal obligations and procedures we must adhere to when handling high expenditure though, and these cannot be bypassed because we are accountable for public money. The cost of the play equipment involved substantial funds, and as such, we have had to conduct a public consultation, collate multiple quotes, and put this before Council Members before we could proceed with placing an order for equipment and works. Council Members make decisions by discussing them at committee, and the committee process follows a monthly cycle. We have tried to speed this up where legally feasible, and as such, the decision to purchase the equipment was made swiftly at the Open Spaces & Environment Committee Meeting on Tuesday 8th March 2022, under delegated powers. In normal circumstances, items have to go through Open Spaces and then wait for Full Council at the end of that same month. However, we obtained delegated powers at Full Council on 24th February 2022, allowing the Open Spaces & Environment Committee to make the final decision in early March, thereby allowing our administrative team to place an order the next day, which we have duly done.
Now that the order has been placed, we are awaiting a date for the works. We will post further updates when we have confirmation of the date that the play equipment will reach us and enable our chosen contractor to install. The play equipment does often come in from Europe and is made to order, so we regret that this will not be as quickly as we would like, and our residents deserve. We will do our utmost to finish this project at the earliest possible date.
Additionally, we are aware that the roundabout in the sandpit area also needs repairs/replacement. Again this involves high costs, so this decision cannot be made by our administrative team. It will be discussed at upcoming committee meetings at the end of March and beginning of April. We anticipate that full replacement will be needed, as this is the most economically sound option. This item is often stocked in this country, so we expect to have it replaced much sooner than the larger, bespoke units already on order (Specification Sheet Below – Kompan Supernova In-Ground 60cm in Sky Night Blue). We will also be repairing the wooden edging around the sandpit area and putting down fresh children’s play sand. Again, we will confirm a date for these works as we book them in, but we are hopeful that we can address these improvements in April/May.
Thank you for your patience.
Southborough TC Team