Playgrounds pledge for Hartlepool after plight of play facilities highlighted

Town leaders have pledged to look at providing more play facilities for young people in Hartlepool.

Wednesday, 15th January 2020, 11:22 am
The playground at Ward Jackson Park, which was targeted by scrap thieves in the summer. Picture by Frank Reid

Councillors discussed the issue as part of the Hartlepool Borough Council Audit and Governance Committee investigation into how to prevent antisocial behaviour in the town.

Council leader Coun Shane Moore said they have been progressing with an outdoor play strategy to provide more facilities across the town.

Coun Marjorie James said her ward, Manor House, has not had new play equipment in 20 years, and added new play facilities should be accompanied by equipment for adults to keep fit also.

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She said: “The issue was raised about community activities for young people and particularly the group that seem to have very little are the under 13s.

“There is an absolute case to answer why there has never ever been, I’ve been here 21 years now this year, and I’m not aware there has been a play area put in to the Manor estate or Rift House in the whole of that time.

“There are obviously high instances of obesity as well on the estate and therefore I would look for an integrated approach where potentially we could have some adults keep fit equipment around or within a children’s play area on the estate.”

Coun James Black also added it is important facilities are on offer for children in every area of the town.

He said: “What we need across the town is play equipment and a youth facility for each ward or each area, it is really a priority to pull these younger people in so they’re not having to roam the streets.”

Council leader Coun Shane Moore said it is important they invest in facilities in the right places to ensure they are looked after and give young people a safe place to play.

He said: “We have been progressing with an outdoor play strategy but the initial money that was left in the neighbourhood investment fund was very limited so it was targeted at specific areas.

“However, that will continue on and I’m pleased to say as part of the capital investment plan we’ve put in place, the neighbourhood investment fund will be getting topped up with a priority given to improving neighbourhoods, including the installation and enhancement of play equipment across the town.

“When it comes to provision of youth services it’s very hit and miss right across the town. It all depends, some of them are funded, some are run by volunteers, it really is hit and miss and a bit of a postcode lottery.”