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Wednesday, 24 September 2014

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Bid to overturn plan to scrap Carlisle play areas

Calls to overturn a decision to clear out dozens of children’s parks are being made.

Gareth Ellis photo
Gareth Ellis

Gareth Ellis, deputy leader of the opposition group on Carlisle City Council, is set to demand a U-turn on the resolution to strip 21 play areas bare.

The Conservative councillor for Belah will confront leaders at a meeting tonight.

He said: “We [the Conservative group] are going to ask the council to undo its decision to reduce the maintenance budget for play areas.

“We need to revisit the issue on some play areas because councillors, residents and the kids who use them haven’t been consulted.

“In my area the park is well used and they are planning to remove all the equipment.

“We want the decision to cut resources overturned and instead for the council to consider putting aside capital funding to improve play areas.

“We are talking about money for those areas that will benefit from the maintenance – some only need a lick of paint.”

The Labour-controlled authority has opted to remove worn out equipment from 21 of its 61 sites across the city.

It comes after the council was left with a hole in its budget of nearly £4m caused by the Government slashing cash for local authorities.

Leaders hope the move will help them save around £25,000 in its budget.

Some of the sites earmarked in the cull include Belah Parkside, Hunters Crescent in Dalston, Irthing Park in Brampton, Sheffield Street in Denton Holme and Raffles Avenue.

The play areas have been deemed to be under-used and too expensive.

Deputy leader Elsie Martlew says the sites aren’t being closed but are being opened up for “imaginative play”.

She adds that it was not an easy decision but insists the council was left with no choice as nearly 40 per cent of its revenue has been “hammered” – with more cuts to come.

Mr Ellis says he hopes the authority will now realise “the wrong decision has been made”.

Mr Ellis is also calling for a strong show of support from the public at the full meeting of the council which gets underway at 6.45pm at the Civic Centre.

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