Following a recent meeting of the Tourism and Leisure Committee, Fylde Council has announced a series of necessary improvements to a number of its more frequently used parks and open spaces to improve safety and accessibility.
Access Control Measures
In Autumn of 2020, bollards were installed to prevent unauthorised access on Ramsgate Road Park and Blackpool Road North Playing Fields in St Annes. This necessary action took place after an illegal encampment was set up on these two parks for a number of days during the summer months.
The design and installation were modelled on a previous scheme at nearby at Frobisher Drive Park in St Annes.
A request from Councillors for similar measures to be installed at more Fylde Council managed parks including; Lima Road, Beauclerk Road and Waddington Road has now been approved. These parks are felt to now be at further risk from unauthorised access due to other local parks having preventative measures in place.
Councillor Cheryl Little, Chair of the Tourism and Leisure Committee said: “Residents approached us with concerns regarding encroachment on their local parks and these measures are an efficient and effective way of ensuring security and safety”.
The wooden bollards due to be installed are extremely robust, with some additional lockable drop-down metal bollards being fitted to provide appropriate access for maintenance vehicles.
Ashton gardens lighting improvements and additions
Ashton Gardens is currently lit by a range of lighting units located throughout the area. The majority of the lighting units are columns with the main drive, war memorial and St George’s Road Lodge House illuminated by underground uplighters. Bollard lighting was originally installed as part of the restoration of Ashton Gardens in 2011, however sadly, these have been subsequently vandalised on numerous occasions.
A detailed survey of the park lighting was recently undertaken and as a result, the following work has proposed:
- 21 Lighting columns: installation of new internal wiring and cutouts to the lighting columns
- 17 Uplighters: Excavation of the in-ground uplights, isolation, IR testing and renewal if faulty
- 10 Bollard Lights: Renewal of vandalised bollards with a more robust, vandal resistant bollard
- Rose Garden: Introduction of new lighting
- St Georges Square side: Install new lighting to the footpath
Councillor Cheryl Little, Chair of the Tourism and Leisure Committee commented: “Ward members reported loss and lack of lighting therefore members were supportive of improvements to reduce anti-social behaviour, disorder and crime into a safe and healthy environment”.
Improvements to Children’s Play Areas
Fylde council own 17 children’s Play Areas throughout St, Anne’s, Ansdell and Lytham, with supplementary responsibility for 2 further play areas managed by Charitable Trusts at Lowther Gardens and Park View Playing Fields.
The parks service is responsible for the formal inspection, repair and record keeping of these play areas, and this service is also provided to the Town and Parish Councils under an Annual Service Level Agreement.
All items of play equipment and surfacing are inspected weekly in line with RoSPA guidance by qualified Fylde Council play inspectors, with an independent inspection being undertaken by Fylde Council’s insurance company, Zurich, once per year.
In addition to the ‘Play and Projects’ team resource, Fylde Council holds an operating budget to carry out repairs to the play equipment and surfacing. This budget is used for the replacement of ‘worn’ parts such as nuts, bolts, shackles, seats, panels and chains in addition to small repairs to rubber safety surfacing, fencing and furniture.
However, the Council does not hold a budget for the replacement of failing or decommissioned play equipment or safety surfacing. Play equipment, surfacing and associated items on the play areas are currently in various condition from excellent to poor. As a rough guide, the lifespan of rubber safety surface is around 10 – 15 years, with play equipment around 10-30 years dependant on type, location, material and public use.
Councillor Cheryl Little, Chair of the Tourism and Leisure Committee said: “Fylde Council has been successful in recent years working with community groups in attracting external funding to improve play provision – this scheme will ensure long term sustainability of the boroughs formal play areas”.
The Council has previously been successful in working with community groups to attract external funding as well as diverting some S106 funding into play improvements and replacement. However, a long-term more sustainable approach is now required to address the gradual deterioration of the play facilities. Some remedial/replacement works are now required based on the most recent formal inspection information and the location of the priority works are listed below:
Waddington Road Park: Play safety surfacing
Promenade Gardens: Play safety surfacing
Mornington Park: Play equipment and play safety surfacing
South Park: Play equipment
Lansdowne Road Open Space: Play equipment, play safety surfacing, safety fencing
King George V Playing Fields: Play equipment, play safety surfacing, seating
The proposals are being put forward for consideration in the budget setting and will be determined at Budget Council on 4 March this year.
The Council is looking forward to improving these priority areas over the coming months, and hopes to have the improvement works complete as soon as possible to allow them to be used to their full potential whilst maintaining the safety of users at all times.