Running of play parks set to be handed back to Thetford and Swaffham

Control of play parks could be handed back to Swaffham and Thetford in a �235,000 deal up for discussion at Breckland Council next week.

Cabinet members are recommended to approve the plans, which would see town councils take responsibility for ten existing equipped play areas along with any built by developers in the future.

The policy was agreed in principle ten years ago and the cabinet is now asked to approve the release of �234,545 to the towns for future maintenance of the sites.

Following negotiations, Thetford Town Council has agreed a one-off payment of �174,270 to take over the running of eight play parks, including those in Pine Close, Edinburgh Way and Canons Walk.

Swaffham Town Council would receive �60,275 and take over two, but the arrangement has not yet been finalised.

A report to the cabinet said: 'Following a meeting this month to the clerk of Swaffham Town Council to discuss any outstanding issues, it is hoped the town will wish to instruct their legal representatives to undertake the transfer.'

When new play areas are built in the towns, they would be transferred directly from the developer to the town council without the district council getting involved if a second recommendation is followed.

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Parks currently managed by Breckland Council on behalf of the owners are not affected by the deal, but the report said the authority intended to eventually transfer management of these to a third party, such as a parish or town council, management company or residents' association, wherever possible in due course.

Breckland is currently negotiating the transfer of further equipped play areas to the town councils in Watton, Dereham and Attleborough.

The cabinet is due to discuss the proposals on Tuesday.