Build a play area in Eglwys Nunnydd, Margam

Build a play area in Eglwys Nunnydd, Margam

26 have signed. Let’s get to 50!
Phil Cox started this petition

Eglwys Nunnydd has a beautiful green area at the heart of the community which many local residents feel has the potential to become a valuable community resource wiht the addition of some children's play equipment. As a Local Healthcare practitioner, it is concerning to see nearly 10% of local children aged 3-7 not undertaking for at least one hour of physical activity on any day of the week[1]. There is considerable evidence that lack of physical activity can lead to a number of adverse health conditions including obesity[2] and playing is one of the easiest and most natural ways that children of any age can engage in the necessary levels of physical activity[3] with considerable health benefits[4]. Research suggests that children burn more calories when they are free to play than through almost any other activity, including organised sports[5]. Despite the presence of 50 children’s play areas in Neath Port Talbot[6], none are currently conveniently accessible from Eglwys Nunnydd even when considering improved access from the newly constructed footbath on Water street.

As a new parent, I find this somewhat concerning as evidence presented to the National Assembly for Wales[7] states that “safe spaces to play close to home in addition to traditional greenspaces are needed to increase children’s time spent outdoors and physical activity”[8]. Upon discussion with several local residents, it has been proposed that the health of local children would vastly benefit from the construction of a small play area for children on an accessible site, with the green at Eglwys Nunnydd being a perfect option due to the location, size, accessibility and local support. Such a play area need not be large to have significant benefits, with national guidance placing a greater importance on creating a rich play environment:

“A rich play environment is one where children and young people are able to make a wide range of choices; where there are many possibilities so that they can invent and extend their own play. It is a varied, inspirational and interesting physical environment that maximises the potential for socialising, creativity, resourcefulness and challenge. It is a place where children feel free to play in their own way, on their own terms.” [9]

This land is currently under the ownership of Llanmoor, there are several options whereby such a significant benefit to local public health could be achieved. One option is for Llanmoor Homes to allow the land to be purchased by a community groups or not-for-profit organisation. This purchase would be funded initially by fundraising efforts amongst Eglwys Nunnydd and St David’s Park residences, who would benefit most from the construction of such an area. Construction, maintenance and liability would then be overseen by the volunteers or trustees associated with the organisation. A second option would be to have Llanmoor Homes generously provide such an area, although it is noted that the ongoing maintenance and insurance costs could add a long term burden to Llanmoor Homes and so such generosity would need to be carefully considered before sanctioning. 

There are several concerns that have been considered before proposing this project. The first of which is local support. Attached in appendix A is a petition with support from local residents. An email address,, has also been set up for residents to email any concerns that they have so that these can be incorporated into the decision process. 

The second consideration pertains to funding which, as stated above, would be led by local fundraisers. Total set up costs of the project are estimated to be £15,000-£17,000[10] in addition to land purchase costs, including equipment, suitable floor surfacing, legal fees, installation, safety fencing and delivery. Various grants and sponsorship options would be explored and discussions amongst residents indicate that this is an attainable target. In order to facilitate fundraising efforts, the project will be opened to residents in St David’s Park as the newly constructed footpath will allow safe access to the park. 

Insurance is often a concern regarding the construction of new play areas in an increasingly litigious UK[11] despite accident rates for playgrounds being far lower than other activities for children, with supervised sport being a notable example in the table below[12]. The Health and Safety Executive recognises this problem in its High Level Statement[13] which states that the reasons for confusion include ‘fears of litigation or criminal prosecution because even the most trivial risk has not been removed’. Fear of litigation is  the key factor, rather than the actual number of legal cases. In fact, playgrounds do not lead to many accident claims, and there is no evidence of a dramatic increase in numbers. Newspaper reports of concerns amongst insurers[14] have largely been addressed by insurance companies[15] acknowledging the importance of allowing for a degree of risk in play areas as the Statutory Guidance, Wales – a Play Friendly Country[16], states: quality play provision ‘offers challenge and uncertainty, with graduated opportunities for risk taking’. This is reaffirmed by the Health and Safety Executive which states in its High Level Statement on children’s play and leisure: “play helps children to learn and develop; and exposes them to the realities of the world in which they will live, which is a world not free from risk but rather one where risk is ever present. The opportunity for play develops a child’s risk awareness and prepares them for their future lives”[17]. Therefore, providing the Play sufficiency toolkit developed by the Welsh Government[18] and other resources from Play Wales[19] was utilised in the planning and construction of the facilities, liability would likely be contained within an insurance policy of approximately £1,500 [P1] annually. 

Concern about children playing near a road has been considered and as children currently play on the road itself, containing a play area in a fenced area would be an overall improvement in safety. Any similar issues regarding child safety would be considered within the Risk-benefit assessment[20] undertaken as part of the Play sufficiency toolkit.

Membership and engagement with the local Neighbourhood watch scheme by volunteers associated with this project [P2] has been deemed sufficient to address concerns regarding any potential associated anti-social behaviour, using established Neighbourhood Watch methods[21] to deal with such instances. 

Careful consideration will be given regarding aesthetic changes to the existing environment, extensively engaging with local residents and using high quality, natural materials to ensure that the project is in keeping with the local landscape. 

Construction of a play area on the green at Eglwys Nunnydd would benefit the health of local children and I would like to take this petition to the owner of the land, Llanmoor Homes. 

[1] GOV.WALES. (2019). Child lifestyle (National Survey for Wales): April 2017 to March 2018. [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 Apr. 2022].
[2] Mackett, R.L. and Paskins, J. (2008). Children’s Physical Activity: The Contribution of Playing and Walking. Children & Society, 22(5), pp.345–357.
[3] Lester, S. and Russell, W. (2010) Children’s right to play: An examination of the importance of play in the lives of children worldwide. The Netherlands: Bernard van Leer Foundation
[4] Lester, S. and Russell, W. (2008) Play for a Change – Play, Policy and Practice: A review of contemporary

perspectives. National Children’s Bureau for Play England: London.
[5] National Assembly for Wales: Health, Social Care and Sport Committee (2019). Physical Activity of Children and Young People. [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 Apr. 2022].
[6] (no date). Playgrounds – Neath Port Talbot Council. [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 Apr. 2022].
[7] National Assembly for Wales (no date). Inquiry into physical activity of children and young people: Response from Centre for Exercise, Nutrition and Health Sciences at the University of Bristol. [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 Apr. 2022].
[8] Cooper AR, Page AS, Wheeler BW, Hillsdon M, Griew P, Jago R. (2010) Patterns of GPS measured time outdoors after school and objective physical activity in English children: the PEACH project. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 22(7):31.
[9] Play Wales (2020). Promoting physical activity through outdoor play in early years settings. [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 Apr. 2022].
[10] Action Play & Leisure Ltd. (no date). Playground Cost - Example 6. [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 Apr. 2022].
[11] Swil, J., Matthews, J. and Collins, C. eds., (2021). UK Litigation Review 2021. [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 Apr. 2022].
[12] Ball, D., Gill, T. and Spiegal, B. (2012). Managing Risk in Play Provision: Implementation guide. [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 Apr. 2022].
[13] Health and Safety Executive (2012). Children’s play and leisure – promoting a balanced approach. [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 Apr. 2022].
[14] Whipple, T. (2019). Adventure playgrounds in danger of mass closure after insurer Zurich pulls out. [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 Apr. 2022].
[15] Harper, M. (2019). Zurich Municipal’s response to recent media coverage on adventure parks. [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 Apr. 2022].
[16] Welsh Government. (2014). Wales -a Play Friendly Country Statutory Guidance. [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 Apr. 2022].‌
[17] Health and Safety Executive (2012). Children’s play and leisure – promoting a balanced approach. [online] Available at:  [Accessed 10 Apr. 2022].
[18] Welsh Government (2022). Play sufficiency toolkit. [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 Apr. 2022].
[19] Gill, T. (2021). Weighing up risks and benefits in children’s play. [online] Available at: https:// [Accessed 10 Apr. 2022].
[20] Ball, D., Gill, T. and Spiegal, B. (2013) Managing Risk in Play Provision: Implementation guide (2nd edition) (1st edition 2008). London: National Children’s Bureau
[21] Neighbourhood Watch Network (n.d.). A guide to recognising, recording & reporting antisocial behaviour. [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 Apr. 2022].

26 have signed. Let’s get to 50!