Play Area

15 Oct 2015

The TRDC Leisure Committee considered the TRDC proposal for a Play area on Chorleywood Common on Wednesday 10th October. The officer’s recommendation was basically that the play space be put on hold until there is more conclusive evidence that the local community are in favour of a play space on Chorleywood Common. Officers therefore proposed that the funding for Chorleywood be used to upgrade the Swillett Play Area.

No formal feedback has been received from TRDC but it is understood that at the meeting Cllr Phil Williams tabled an amendment to the recommendation, that was then carried by a majority, to the effect that the Swillett upgrade is put on hold whilst the Parish Council is approached again for a decision on whether a play area should be placed on the Common. The exact wording of the recommendation was to be provided by Cllr Williams, and has not yet been received by the Parish Council.

Only then can the Parish Council debate and decide how to move forward on this issue.

Here is the link to the agenda and papers for the next 3 Rivers Leisure Committee that is meeting on Wednesday 10 October at 7:30pm.

One of the items is a report about the consultation on the Play Area, and a subsequent recommendation not to proceed.  The report recommends that:

“2.18 The consultation data from the Wonder Wood survey are inconclusive and split between those wishing to have the play area and those against. It is therefore recommended that the proposal be put on hold until there is more conclusive evidence, showing that the local community are in favour of a new play space on the Common.

2.19 Officers therefore propose that the funding for Chorleywood be used to upgrade The Swillet play area. By upgrading The Swillet play area sooner than planned (2020/21), the families within Chorleywood will be able to benefit from a high quality play area.

2.20 The original budget of £50,000 to upgrade the Swillet play area was allocated to be used in 2020/21. This funding was to be used to carry out a minor upgrade in order to complement the new play space on the Common. However, as it is now proposed to no longer progress the project for an additional play space, ….”

The committee can decide not to the accept the recommendation to “no longer progress the project for an additional play space”.  You are welcome to attend the meeting as a member of the public.

We need your active support!

 

The possible site for a Play Area in Chorleywood is a contentious issue, with strongly held views being expressed from all sides. We took a vote at the Friends of Chorleywood Common AGM in February 2014, and subsequently carried out a survey of all the members. A majority of our members oppose a site on the Common, though we recognise that some do not. Since the possibility of a Play Area was raised again last year, your Committee have been supporting the agreed democratic process to evaluate sites and propose a recommendation to the Chorleywood Parish Council (CPC). We are represented on the Play Area in Chorleywood Advisory Committee (PACAC) looking at the expert reports and judging selection criteria for all potential sites, which include 2 sites proposed on the Common being:

The PACAC will be reviewing all its inputs later in the year. We, as Friends of Chorleywood Common, are putting forward our evaluation that the sites on the Common have significant issues over safety, accessibility by foot, wheelchair or child buggies, parking, visual impact, destruction of trees, habitat and a unique local ecology.

The special habitats of the Common are protected by law in view of their importance nationally.  The Common has by regulation to be maintained as an open space for the enjoyment of all, such as with natural play and nature trails. Installing play equipment and fencing would require Secretary of State approval, probably after a long and costly public enquiry, and approval is by no means certain. Sites not on the Common may not have these legal constraints or implications and could be built on more quickly and cheaply.

Please note that we are not judging the suitability of other sites nor recommending other sites.  We are just saying, as we have before, that the Common is not a suitable site for a formal Play Area, both now and for the future, and that the Common should continue to be used for natural play and exploration by children. More details of the arguments that support our position are here:

 

This may help any of our members who are undecided about the Play Area issue and also members who are ‘pro’ the Common as a possible site to re-evaluate their conclusions.

We now need your voice to add to this debate. Other groups in Chorleywood have been canvassing the CPC and Councillors with their views, and the strength and volume of such views could be a factor in the CPC’s decision.

If you agree that there should not be a formal Play Area on the Common, then we ask you to write to the CPC to this effect. We provide some easy ways to do this and suggested text below.

Thank you for your continued support to protect and maintain the Common for the enjoyment of all, now and for the future.

Depending on how your computer and email program is setup, this next link may populate an email that you can then edit, sign and send:  I object to any formal Play Areas on the Common 
If this doesn’t work, then you can cut and paste the text and addresses below into your email program:
Suggested text:
TO:  Info@chorleywood-pc.gov.uk
CC: Parish Councillors (their emails address are at the end for you to paste into your email cc:space)
SUBJECT: Play Area in Chorleywood

I object in the strongest possible terms to any formal Play Area being constructed on Chorleywood Common.

As I understand it, sites being considered on the Common have significant issues over safety, accessibility by foot, wheelchair or child buggies, parking, visual impact, destruction of trees, habitat and a unique local ecology.

The special habitats of the Common are protected by law in view of their importance nationally.  The Common has by regulation to be maintained as an open space for the enjoyment of all, such as with natural play and nature trails. Installing play equipment and fencing would require Secretary of State approval probably after a long and costly process.  If a Play Area was approved a precedent would be set for further encroachment of the Common.  Sites not on the Common may not have these legal constraints or implications and could be built on more quickly and cheaply.

I call upon Chorleywood Parish Council to adhere to the conditions that apply to its ownership and stewardship of the Common, and on Parish Councillors to follow their Code of Conduct in taking into consideration all relevant information and all points of view including mine, remaining objective and making decisions on merit.

Yours sincerely

insert your name and address here

Addresses of Chorleywood Parish Council and Councillors

info@chorleywood-pc.gov.uk

cllr.a.preedy@chorleywood-pc.gov.uk

cllr.b.dickens@chorleywood-pc.gov.uk

cllr.b.green@chorleywood-pc.gov.uk

cllr.d.raw@chorleywood-pc.gov.uk

cllr.h.davies@chorleywood-pc.gov.uk

cllr.j.clarke@chorleywood-pc.gov.uk

cllr.j.copley@chorleywood-pc.gov.uk

cllr.j.leeming@chorleywood-pc.gov.uk

cllr.j.white@chorleywood-pc.gov.uk

cllr.j.wood@chorleywood-pc.gov.uk

cllr.j.worrall@chorleywood-pc.gov.uk

cllr.k.morris@chorleywood-pc.gov.uk

cllr.m.trevett@chorleywood-pc.gov.uk

cllr.r.khiroya@chorleywood-pc.gov.uk

cllr.r.kipps@chorleywood-pc.gov.uk

cllr.s.watkins@chorleywood-pc.gov.uk

cllr.t.edwards@chorleywood-pc.gov.uk