A PLAY area in Leek is set to receive a major revamp.
The play equipment in the Ball Haye Green Recreational Grounds, which is situated in Haregate, has not been updated for many years except for the addition of A Multi Use Games Area, which was put in place in 2005.
The grounds, which are maintained and looked after by Leek Town Council, is set to be used for works access to a new 35 homes development at Horse Croft Farm, behind the recreational grounds.
The housing development, of three bungalows, 24 houses, and eight apartments, is being built by Ascent Housing, which will be using temporary access through Ball Haye Green Recreational Grounds – in return for £40,000.
Permanent access to the new housing development will eventually come from Tittesworth Avenue.
Leek Town Council will be using £15,000 of the cash from Ascent to make good the recreational grounds after the works have been carried out, and the remaining £25,000 is to be used for play equipment.
Last week, we reported that councillor John Povey had suggested that the town council add a further £10,000 to its council precept – its share of Council Tax bills – to have further funds in the play equipment fund pot.
However, this week, Leek Town Mayor John Fisher has told the Post & Times that he hopes to avoid adding "more burden" to taxpayers with an additional £10,000 on the precept, but instead hopes that the council will be able to bid for additional cash for the play equipment from funding bodies such as the National Lottery.
Leek Town Council's precept for 2014/15 is already set to rise by 31 per cent to pay for the £25,000 a year for three years that the council has agreed to give to support the purchase of the Foxlowe Arts Centre, as well as paying for an increase of hours for the Town Clerk, and storage costs for new pop-up gazebos.
Councillor Fisher said: "We don't want to put extra burden on taxpayers by taking up the suggestion of adding £10,000.
"Instead we will be looking at accessing grants from other places. I'm in favour of getting as much money as possible for this project, but not at the expense of taxpayers."
As for when the new play equipment is set to be put in place, Mr Fisher added: "We will be looking at starting this work once the housing development has been completed. The hope is to update some of the younger play equipment which is already there and also add in play equipment for older children."
Mr Fisher added that health and safety will be paramount on the recreational grounds while the housing work goes ahead. He said: "The access that Ascent will be using through the recreational grounds will be well fenced off and a popular dog walking access point to fields behind the grounds will be fenced off, but an alternative made available.
"We are hoping that there will be the least inconvenience to residents as possible."