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Children in tears as playground torn up
WORK to rip up a popular Worcester playground has been halted after an outcry from community leaders – who the council didn’t inform about the plan.
Last week, workmen from Worcester City Council started to tear up the play facility in Howcroft Green, Warndon Villages, but have temporarily suspended the demolition amid dismay from the public.
The situation was made worse by council staff sending an e-mail to the wrong ward politicians warning them about it.
Councillors Roger Berry and Geoff Williams, who represent Gorse Hill, were sent e-mails informing them of the action, instead of councillors Stephen Hodgson and Douglas Wilkinson, who represent Warndon Parish North.
Now, Coun Hodgson has intervened and wants to start fresh talks over saving the site.
He says local children have been left “in tears” after workers were seen taking equipment away.
“Half of the play area has been removed and I’ve asked for the work to be halted until we can find a solution,” he said.
“I understand Warndon Villages has a lot of play areas, some of which are coming to the end of their natural life, but there should have been consultation over this. I’d say 90 per cent of the people around here want it retained – one lady said one young boy was in tears and people have been pleading with the workers to stop.”
Coun Hodgson said he was keen to discuss a new plan to keep the facility and redress the confusion over his notification of the work.
“They thought it was in the Gorse Hill ward but this park’s actually in Warndon Villages, so I didn’t know about it,” he said. The council said the work had been stopped so talks could start over alternative solutions.
It owns 52 play areas in the city, of which about 15 are in Warndon, and has been reviewing older ones around Worcester.
A spokesman said: “Work has been temporarily suspended while we talk to local and parish councillors about possible alternative funding sources.”
Elsewhere, £55,000 has been earmarked on a new play area for Dines Green, which currently doesn’t have one.
As part of the review, play parks in Aldersey Close, Old Tolladine Road, Weir Lane, Oaklands, Debdale, Swallowfields and Cromwell Crescent are either getting or have had revamps.
Meanwhile, as your Worces-ter News revealed last month, three new play areas are on the way for Fort Royal Park.
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