Community launches new play area in drive to ‘put some pride back’ into Bury estate

Cllr Patrick Chung, the mayor of St Edmundsbury, cuts the ribbon on a new play area on the Priors estate
Cllr Patrick Chung, the mayor of St Edmundsbury, cuts the ribbon on a new play area on the Priors estate
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Children on a Bury St Edmunds estate are enjoying a new £160,000 play area - thanks to the efforts of a community group.

Families flocked to the grand opening of the play area, in Ashwell Road on the Priors estate on Thursday night to enjoy the new swings, climbing frames with slides, roundabout and seesaw.

The community-led project is part of a drive by the Priors Estate Action Group to ‘put some pride back’ into the neighbourhood.

Chairman Frank Palfrey said: “This is the group’s first project. The action group was set up both to deliver improvements and to put some pride back into the estate and I’m delighted to see this new play area open and in use again.”

The revamp was completed in two phases with the opening of a new multi-use games area in December.

It started last March when more than 50 residents including children attended a meeting, organised by St Edmundsbury Borough Council to choose their favourite design. The contractor behind that favoured design was then appointed by the council to carry out the work.

Cllr Robert Everitt, cabinet member for families and communities, who represents the estate, said: “I know that children on the estate have volunteered to carry out litter picks – so their involvement is already adding to that strong sense of community on the Priors and long may that continue.”

The project included changing the layout to allow for better parental supervision as well as solving a previous issue in which the young children’s play area was tucked away behind the multi-use ball court. It was paid for through capital investment by St Edmundsbury, developer contributions from the Havebury Housing scheme at the former Priors Inn and a £10,000 contribution from Bury Town Council.

Borough Cllr Clive Springett, who also represents the estate, said: “This is a great example of what can be achieved by a community when residents come together and take action to improve their local area.”

Cllr Andrew Speed, chairman of Bury Town Council, added: “We were keen to support the action group who had been fund-raising to secure these improved facilities and are delighted with the new provision which will ensure the wellbeing of local mums and youngsters for years to come.”