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Wednesday, 20 August 2014

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Carlisle residents urged to attend meeting over play park

Residents concerned about the future of a Carlisle play park are being urged to attend a public meeting tomorrow night.

The meeting at Belah Community Centre will discuss the future of the area’s play equipment.

Belah’s park is one of 21 around the city that could be stripped of play equipment as part of cuts proposed by Carlisle City Council. The council says it can no longer afford to maintain them.

Removing slides, swings and other equipment from the identified parks would slice £25,000 from the council’s budget as it looks to save £4m caused by a reduction in the amount of money the local authority receives from the government.

Councillor Gareth Ellis is a Conservative representing the Belah ward on the city council.

He is organising tomorrow night’s meeting, which starts at 6pm.

Mr Ellis said: “I want to use the meeting to gauge the strength of feeling from people.

“The Belah estate doesn’t have a residents’ group like many other areas of the city have and it lost its school – and now it could lose the play equipment.

“We need to see if people want to work together to keep the equipment.

“The meeting is also about exploring the options, maybe fundraising to pay for refurbishments – even a very small one – and the council maintain it, perhaps. But we need to know what people want to do.”

Colin Glover, leader of the Labour-controlled city council, gave assurances that Belah’s play park would be one of the final parks to be stripped, to give local people time to explore options.

He said, at Tuesday night’s council meeting: “I can give you an assurance that the removal of equipment on the Belah site will be deferred until the end of the programme, which will likely be after the summer, to give us a chance to talk to some of the residents. Come and talk to us – this is about looking at the solutions.”

The city council discussed its forthcoming budget on Tuesday night.

Amendments tabled during the meeting, including changes to council tax proposals and a freeze on councillors’ allowances, will now go back and be considered by the authority’s ruling executive and a further meeting of the full council before final decisions are made.

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