Luxford play area in the centre of Uckfield will get an extra £31,000 spent on it when the revamp is carried out.
Approval for a scheme costing £130,000 was given in February (see our report here) and now town councillors have agreed to increase the scheme’s budget.
HAGS-SMP won the contract for the work but at the moment, due to the coronavirus lockdown, its staff are on furlough.
As a result, all works are postponed.
The council’s facilities manager, Mark Francis, told councillors he and the HAGS-SMP team had been working towards equipment which was accessible to all.
It was now suggested that a ramp design be incorporated into the Uckfield ‘castle’ which would be like a bridge over a moat.
This would have a flat section at the end, like a fort, with play panels and features.
Wheelchair users could go on a sensory path to feel different textures. There would also be play panels either side of this path and musical instruments.
This would be in addition to the main footpath.
Mr Francis said the play equipment industry was trying to “destigmatise” disabled users and sought to create areas that didn’t have specific, obvious disabled equipment.
The design chosen by councillors at their February meeting, following public consultation, was estimated to cost about £130,000.
The environment and leisure committee meeting on Monday (May 4) agreed to add a further £31,500 to the scheme to cover the new features.
The extra money is coming from:
- More than £17,700 recently becoming available from housebuilders’ Section 106 contributions (a ‘roof’ tax), specifically for play area/recreational facilities;
- An underspend on the budget for the Hempstead Meadows safety surface in 2019/20 which cost £6,500 less than expected; and
- £9,000 not spent from the budget when the initial Luxford Field scheme was agreed earlier this year.
About £1,700 will be left in the council’s play area ‘pot’.
Repairs and replacements come from a separate budget.
The Luxford play area work is a continuation of an Uckfield Town Council policy to complete a series of improvements to its play areas including those at Hempstead Road, Ridgewood and Hughes Way.
A skatepark has also been established, along with a multi-games area, off the Victoria Pleasure Ground.