"Don't hide our slide!" Say yes to relocating the playground on Chippy
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I'm a mum. That's me in the middle of the picture, at a 'play-in' a couple of weekends ago. It was a brilliant morning: lots of people gathered to demonstrate their support for a visible playground. It gave me great hope for the future.
I grew up in Monmouth town and I've returned here to bring up my children. I always assumed that the playground on Chippy, where I once played as a child, would be the place I'd like to take my own kids, too. When I heard the playground was getting a revamp, I was really pleased. After looking at the plans, though, I realised there was a big problem: the location is appalling. No-one would recommend building a playground in a hidden dip next to a dual carriageway and behind a flood defence,* but this is exactly what the County Council wants to spend our money on.
With some other parents I formed a community group, Friends of Chippenham Mead, and together we came up with a plan: to ask to swap the patch of land the play area sits on for a better one on the open space of Chippy, so that our children - and children in the future - can have a safe, healthy and pleasant environment to play in, in full view of the town. We consulted lots of local parents, asked for the ideas of local children, and worked hard to accommodate the wishes of other users of the village green. But the word came back: the council officers recommend keeping the playground where it is.
We're so confused as to why our County Council wants to spend £85,000 on new play equipment without listening to local parents or children.
So we're asking again: please move our playground. If we lose this battle, and the playground is refurbished, we can see history repeating itself. Drinking, drug-taking and anti-social behaviour will flourish, and all the money spent on revamping the place will be wasted. After a few years, we'll be back where we started: a playground which attracts the wrong crowd and falls into misuse and neglect, all because of where it is.
On the other hand, with your help, we might win. We could succeed in securing a playground which is visible, popular, and looked after by the local community. We could put children back where they belong: centre stage! Monmouth really needs this investment: please join me in urging Cabinet to let children be seen and heard on Chippy.
* Guidance from RoSPA rospa.com: "The playground has to be in the right place - so that children can reach it safely and easily without crossing hazards such as major roads. There should be no environmental hazards (such as fast-flowing rivers) affecting the site and it must be easily visible to ensure children's social safety and reduce vandalism.
Guidance from Play Wales playwales.org.uk: "Ten principles for designing successful play spaces: no.1 They are bespoke; no.2, They are well-located."
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