Agreement gives hope for Thetford’s ‘shocking’ play areas

Children's play areas in Thetford.
Children's play areas in Thetford.
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A sum of £232,710 has been agreed for the transfer of 11 play areas to Thetford Town Council.

The payment will allow the town council to repair and maintain the play areas, some of which have been described as in a ‘shocking’ condition.

The play areas are currently maintained by Breckland Council.

Discussions about how much money should given to the town council towards improving their condition have been ongoing since at least 2011.

Cllr Corinne Fulford, chair of Thetford Town Council’s amenities committee, said she found the state of some of the play areas ‘shocking’.

She said: “We have tried to push for more money and at the end of the day they have agreed to pay this additional amount of money. An additional £20,000.”

Breclaknd Council agreed to give an extra £2,500 for each of the eight play areas after the town council drew up a ‘wish list’ of repairs and maintenance they felt was needed.

The town council has agreed to accept the offer which will now go back before Breckland Council for final approval.

Cllr Fulford said: “It’s not sufficient but actually we are where we are and we have done as much as we can do. We are moving forward again. As a town council we are moving forward.”

Cllr Mark Kiddle-Morris, Breckland Council’s executive member for assets and strategic development, said: “The problem we have as a district council is controlling all these play areas is very difficult with the resources.

“It’s better for local people to look after them. There’s more money available, if they wish to enhance those play areas Thetford Town Council can apply to Breckland with some match funding.”

A further three new play areas on the Richard Eastern Estate have been added to the agreement and will provide an additional payment of £38,510.

Cllr Fulford said these areas were in a good condition.

She said the town council would now look to continue community consultation as decisions are made on how the money will be spent to improve Thetford’s play areas.