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23 July 2010, 10:13
Twelve modern-style play areas due to be built across West Sussex have been put on hold after the Government said it planned to review the nationwide project.
The Playbuilder scheme was started more than two years ago, using Government grants to provide an extra 3,500 playgrounds. Unlike traditional swings and roundabouts, they include zip wires, large basket swings and slides, and climbing boulders and frames. In West Sussex 11 areas costing half a million pounds were completed in the last financial year.
The £1.2m grant for West Sussex is administered by the county Youth Service, while district, borough and parish councils carry out the work.
Two of the 14 planned for the current financial year - at Sidlesham Recreation Ground and Steyning Memorial Playing Fields - are being allowed to continue, because construction work has actually started. Each scheme will cost £45,000. The Department of Education will decide the future of the others at the end of August.
“I know there has been an immense amount of community involvement in preparing these playgrounds, with high hopes they will be built,” said Pete Bradbury, Cabinet Member for Children and Families. “However we must await the outcome of the Government review into all of them by the end of next month. The County Council does not have available the funds to make up any shortfall and unfortunately we will not be able to proceed if the grant is withdrawn.
“However I understand completely that difficult decisions will have to be made because of the severe financial situation the Government has inherited.”
The schemes which have been put on hold, with corresponding Government grants, are:
Quayside Recreation Ground, Shoreham £45,000
Maybridge Keystone Club, Goring £45,000
West Way Park, Worthing £45,000
Queen Street open space, Worthing £45,000
Dobbins Place, Ifield, Crawley £58,000
Victoria Park, Haywards Heath £45,000
Lingfield Park, Haywards Heath £45,000
Jubilee Walk, Midhurst, £17,600
Oaklands Park, Chichester, £23,107
Hotham Park, Bognor Regis £80,000
Highfield Play Area, Clun Road, Wick £20,000
Pixies Hollow, Horsham £45,000
Some projects cost more than the figures above, and use top-up funding from other sources.