£300k play area upgrade

Claremont Park, North Shore, Blackpool.
Claremont Park, North Shore, Blackpool.
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Consultation has now begun on the next phase of upgrading playgrounds in some of Blackpool’s most deprived neighbourhoods.

The £300,000 investment will see play areas for toddlers upgraded at Claremont, Grange Park and Revoe parks.

Parents are being invited to have their say in the process which is being co-ordinated by Blackpool Better Start, the £45m Lottery funded initiative to improve opportunities for pre-school children.

A public consultation event was held earlier this week at Claremont Park where the Groundworks environmental team will be leading a five month consultation.

It is hoped the designs will be completed by the end of the year with work getting underway in early 2017.

The first stage of playground refurbishments has already seen the opening of the newly-enhanced Early Years Play Zone at George Bancroft Park, off Seasiders Way.  

The £80,000 project saw the play area improved and relocated to a safer area of the park after the original location suffered from vandalism.

Sharon Mather, development manager at the Centre for Early Child Development, said: “Local families have told us they enjoy spending time playing outdoors with their children.

“It is part of our on-going commitment to develop parks and open spaces across the town.

“This £300,000 redevelopment will create an imaginative and inspiring play area for Blackpool’s 0-to-three-year-olds and their families.”

Consultation for Grange Park will be held on Tuesday August 16 from noon until 2pm and on Saturday August 20 from noon until 2pm at Revoe Park’s celebratory fun day.

At each event, members of the parents’ forum, community voice and staff from the Centre for Early Child Development team will meet local families to help them develop ideas about what they want from their local play spaces.

Ms Mather added: “We are looking forward to welcoming lots of Blackpool’s tots and their families so we can support them and develop new, creative play spaces that local children will enjoy.”

Better Start is being funded through a £45m Lottery grant awarded in 2014, plus £30m of ring-fenced public funds.

The 10-year programme is aimed at improving the lives of children during their crucial early years between birth and starting school, focusing on the most deprived areas of the town.

Parents and families are being urged to contribute by taking part in consultation at each stage.

Improving play facilities is seen as a key element, giving children chance to play outdoors and interact with each other.

The Early Years Development Centre is based inside Bickerstaffe House in Talbot Road.