Work to upgrade Blackpool’s parks and open spaces has started with an £80,000 investment in play facilities at George Bancroft Park.
Blackpool Better Start has launched its programme to upgrade playgrounds as part of its 10-year £75m initiative to improve outcomes from birth for children born into the resort’s poorest neighbourhoods.
The first phase will see the early years playground at George Bancroft Park moved from its current position by the climbing towers to a new location closer to the Waterloo Road bridge.
Merle Davies, Better Start director, said: “Better Start is committed to changing outcomes for families with children aged up to three years and part of this commitment is to work with the community to develop parks and open spaces around the town where children can play safely.
“From 2016 to 2020, four of our target wards will have brand new early years play areas and the other three will have their early years play areas enhanced.”
In the past few years, George Bancroft Park has been vandalised, partly due to its closed-off location.
Recently, the play area’s rubber surface was damaged when vandals tore part of it up.
John Blackledge, Blackpool Council’s director of community and environmental services, said: “Part of the problem with the play area’s current location is that it is in the shadows and isn’t overlooked by anybody in the evenings.
“Unfortunately, people have been damaging it knowing that they can’t be caught.
“The relocated play area will be closer to Waterloo Road bridge, meaning that it will be brighter and more visible to passers-by, and we expect that will make it more difficult for people to carry out vandalism without being caught.”
The Better Start target wards are Bloomfield, Brunswick, Claremont, Clifton, Park, Talbot and Victoria.
The project was awarded £45m by the Big Lottery Fund with match-funding from other partners taking the total to £75m.