Transfer of Dereham play areas could cost town’s taxpayers �35,000 a year

Dereham town council will take control of nine play areas from Breckland Council despite warnings a funding shortfall could increase the town's element of council tax by 3-4pc.

Breckland Council's cabinet today voted to pass the sites to Dereham town council along with �121,700 for their maintenance – the amount it said developers who equipped the sites had provided.

Town councillors last week approved the deal, despite claiming they would have to find about �35,000 a year on top of that to maintain the sites at a reasonable level.

Tim Birt, chair of the town council's finance committee, said: 'We have to provide something for our youngsters – look what happens if you don't. If you just let them reel around in the streets kicking their heels some of them will get into mischief. We have got to provide something.'

Breckland cabinet member Ian Sherwood supported towns and parishes taking control of local assets, but said they should also take responsibility for their funding.

He said: 'They might want to look at these nine sites and reorganise it in a different way. I don't think it's for us to tell them, or for us to give them enough funds for it to be free into the future. It's not for us to tell them what to do. That's what localism is all about.'

The sites transferred are in Moorgate Road, Cartledge Close, Girling Road and Sandy Lane in Dereham, and Recreation Road, Hillcrest Avenue, Old Hall Road, Middlemarch Road and School Lane in Toftwood.

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