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Wednesday, 30 July 2014

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Botcherby residents unite in fight for play park return

It is hoped that ‘people power’ will win through on one Carlisle estate, as hundreds of people unite in the call for the return of their play park.

Botcherby play area photo
Jeff Bomford

A petition with more than 1,300 signatures will be officially handed to Carlisle City Council next week, demanding the return of play equipment to Botcherby play areas.

The council reviewed 69 play areas earlier this year, removing equipment from a number of them without consultation.

It was decided that two out of five play areas in the Botcherby Ward – Broadoaks Grange and Scotby Gardens – would have its fixed play equipment removed and be left as informal open spaces.

The remaining three areas – Keenan Park, Melbourne Park and Eden Park Crescent – were highlighted as “strategically important sites” and would therefore receive continued investment and development.

The Botcherby campaign has been organised by 29-year-old Jeff Bomford who has a two-and-a-half-year-old son Jacob, together with partner Debbie Kerr.

His petition states: “We, the Botcherby community, ask Carlisle City Council and the leading administration to install new play equipment back into our children’s play areas.

“The old equipment was ripped out without consultation; we ask guaranteed assurance that no more of our children’s play areas will be targeted in the same way.”

It follows similar successful campaigns by residents in Belah and Harraby after equipment at their local play areas was earmarked for removal.

Mr Bomford, a handyman from Borland Avenue, said they collected a total of 1,312 before the deadline ahead of next Tuesday’s meeting of Carlisle City Council. He said: “I know there are still more people willing to sign the petition, but I needed to get it in in time for full council.

“It didn’t take long – we went out on a Saturday morning and got 300 signatures.”

Mr Bomford also said that £25,000 had been promised for a children’s park in the area by property developers.

A report has been prepared in response to the petition, which states that the council will invite representatives from the Botcherby community to meet officers and councillors to “explore the options available to them for future development of play areas in the ward”.

The report added that funding is available through planning permission agreements to support sports and play provision and it was important that community views are taken into account on how the cash is spent.

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