Moving disputed playscape equipment at King’s Head Meadow in Wymondham is “only viable solution” - report
- Credit: SIMON FINLAY
A working group set up to resolve a deadlock over the future of disputed play equipment in Wymondham has recommended the pieces be moved.
King's Head Meadow Working Group has produced a report, which asserts moving the playscape equipment - installed in 2014 at a cost of £75,000 - should be moved to the Central Hall side of the meadow.
The report claims that this is the 'only viable solution' if the play equipment to be kept at King's Head Meadow.
The report states: 'The majority consensus view, and it is acknowledged that this is not the unanimous view, is that all the equipment should be re-located to the Central Hall end of the meadow'.
Last year, the council voted to remove the playscape equipment, which was installed alongside existing play equipment, in response to nearby residents' complaints over noise and anti-social behaviour.
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But when contractors moved in to remove the playscape in August, scores of other Wymondham residents staged a sit-in to stop them from accessing the site.
Norfolk County Council stepped in to mediate the dispute, and set up the working group in hopes of resolving the issue.
The working group has been taking to Wymondham Town Football Club about emergency vehicle access, fencing and landscaping, all of which have been flagged up as potential issues if the playscape were to be moved to the Central Hall side.
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Play England is also to be consulted on the feasibility of the new site, and a young person's working group and the Wymondham Access Group will also be involved in discussions.
The report goes onto say that the final decision on what happens rests with the town council.
The next Wymondham Town Council full meeting, at which the working group is due to give a progress report, will take place at the Central Hall in Back Lane today (Tuesday, February 7) from 7.30pm.
The working group's statement in full
Kings Head Meadow Working Group Position Statement Update January 2017
The KHM working group was tasked with exploring possible solutions to the reported problems of the Play area and was charged by the Council to make recommendations to the Council on their findings.
The final decision on what happens is and has always been with the Town Council. If a meaningful resolution cannot be found, the Town Council decision to remove the equipment would still stand.
After several meetings the key actions agreed and recommendations proposed to date are as follows:
• The only viable solution to enable the play equipment to be kept on the KHM is to re-locate it to the central hall side of the meadow
• The majority consensus view, and it is acknowledged that this is not the unanimous view, is that all the equipment should be re-located to the Central Hall end of the meadow
• It has been agreed that acoustic walling is not practical, given the proximity to resident's homes, as it would not work or be cost effective.
• A request to seek Professional advice will be sought from the independent experts in the field, Play England, subject to Council approval in terms of cost, at the February meeting to look at the new proposed site and evaluate the feasibility of the proposed move and identify any other issues that the Group may not have thought of.
• If Play England involvement is approved, this meeting will invite members of the Working Group and extended offer to include members of the Young person's working group, the Wymondham ( Disabled) Access group and Wymondham Town Football Club
• An initial meeting with the Wymondham Town Football Club was positive and has come up with a number of sensible and reasonable requests to facilitate this move such as provision for Emergency vehicle access, fencing and landscaping to name just a few , which will be discussed with the Town Council before any decision to move is taken
• The final decision and discussion, further informed by Play England's report will be presented to Council at the March meeting at which point officers from NCC will cease to be involved in chairing this group. It is hoped that the Council will at that time vote on this
matter and if approved, any expenditure will obviously be in compliance with the financial regulations and the matter will be taken forward appropriately
• The Football club have suggested a window of opportunity to carry out the work, in the summer, if approved, which will have minimal impact on the Football club and programmed matches to be played and planned events on the meadow.
• Three Freedom of information requests have been submitted to NCC, South Norfolk and the Police by a representative of the working group but to date no replies have been received. This does not impact on the consensus agreement to recommend this proposed relocation to the Central Hall side of Kings Head Meadow, subject to the approval of Play England