|New Plan Keeps Adventure Playground Free|
Battersea Park Adventure Playground could get a new look and no admission fee
Wandsworth Council is to unveil proposals for a new-look adventure playground in Battersea Park which, if approved, would end speculation about the need to charge an admission fee.
Under the council's preferred option, £200,000 would be spent on providing modern new equipment for the playground.
This equipment would conform to all the latest safety standards and replace the playground's ageing wooden play structures.
Installing the safest available commerciall- produced apparatus would mean the popular leisure facility no longer required staff to be on duty to supervise activities. This would offer a saving to local taxpayers of £130,000 every year and mean there was no need to charge an entrance fee.
This change would also mean that the playground could remain open for longer - and would be available for use at all times the park is open, seven days a week.
The proposal is due to be discussed by the education and children's services scrutiny committee on January 18th. If backed by councillors, a round of public consultation would then follow.
Children's services spokesman Cllr Kathy Tracey said: "In drawing up these proposals our aim from the outset was to find a way of continuing to provide an exciting and challenging adventure playground that would remain popular and attractive to young people.
"This was set against the backdrop of needing to make significant budgetary savings as a result of the country's debt and deficit levels. We must reduce our spending by £70m over four years, including by £30m in the current financial year alone, so maintaining the status quo was not an option.
"We have explored a range of different proposals and believe we have come up with a coherent and sustainable way of keeping this popular leisure facility open, ensuring that young people can go on enjoying it free of charge and at the same time making the kind of savings we need to make."
Examples of the challenging and adventurous new equipment that could be installed at Battersea Park include rope swings, aerial walkways, tube slides, climbing nets, zip wires and fireman's poles.
Wandsworth manages more than 200 playgrounds and play areas in parks, commons and housing estates. Over the past four years £2.5 million has been spent on maintaining and improving these facilities for young people.
The council also provides a grant worth £125,000 a year to a local charity which provides an adventure playground on Wandsworth Common specifically aimed at children with disabilities.
The current adventure playground in Battersea Park has been costing council tax payers in Wandsworth £225,000 a year to maintain. This pays the staffing cost and also the cost of repairs and maintenance to its wooden play structures.
In contrast the cost of maintaining and repairing the play equipment at the adventure playground under the new proposals would drop to around £10,000 a year.
As part of any public consultation, residents could also be asked for their views on whether or not they support any private sector investment in the playground.