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City play area improvement project hailed a success

11/03/14

A major project to refurbish or replace Aberdeen's play areas was hailed a success at the Housing and Environment Committee on Tuesday 11 March.

Councillors on the Committee heard that 450,000 in capital funding had been earmarked for the 2013/14 play area refurbishment programme. This is in addition to 100,000 revenue funding set aside for 2013/14 park improvements.

By the end of the 2013/14 financial year, the Council will have replaced parks at Airyhall Community Centre; Alan Douglas Park; Denburn Court; Formartine Road; Gordon's Mill Road; Johnston Gardens East; Kaimhill Circle; Lemon Street and Willow Park Crescent. Refurbishment work will have been carried out at Coronation Road; Westburn Park; Kincorth Circle; Powis Crescent and Orchard Street.

The programme will continue throughout the 2014/15 financial year with a budget of 570,000.

The 2014/15 work will see the replacement of parks at Girdleness Road; Kerloch Gardens; Leslie Terrace; Marischal Court; Matthews Road; Newton Terrace; Oldcroft Road and Thistle Court. Parks refurbishment work in 2014/15 is planned for Heathryfold; Cromwell Road; Gordon Park and Greenbrae Drive.

A rolling programme of refurbishment will continue over a 15-year period with a view to replace all 154 play areas in Aberdeen, the Committee heard.

Housing and Environment Convener Councillor Neil Cooney said: "The play areas refurbishment work has been a real success story and the feedback I have been getting from the public on the project has been very positive to say the least.

"We, as a Council, are committed to ensuring our play areas are safe and maintained to a high standard and we place huge importance on providing suitable play opportunities for children so they can lead healthy and active lives.

"Unfortunately play equipment has a limited shelf life and following an extensive review by our environmental services team it was clear that significant investment and refurbishment was required.

"I am pleased to say that that investment is now showing results and we have play parks built for the 21st century.

"We will not become complacent, however, and the refurbishment work will continue in earnest over the coming years.

"Communities across the city can expect to see improvements in their play areas and I would ask that they bear with us throughout this process, which will ultimately bring great benefits to the city as a whole."

A report before Councillors today said a review in 2012 identified a decline in the condition of play areas across the city with many becoming increasingly difficult and expensive to maintain.

The review also identified the need for more robust inspection and reporting methods and, as a result, a new inspection team was formed to conduct weekly inspections and carry out minor repairs where possible.

The report said the improved inspection process highlighted that many play areas in the city were in need of refurbishment or replacement.

Officers drew up a refurbishment programme as a result and work is being carried out on a priority basis. Communities have been and will continue to be consulted throughout.