The current play area at Wellington Drive is not fully accessible for all children to use and has no direct access for pushchairs or wheelchairs.
But Cannock Chase Council is now planning to improve the play area and open space using money contributed by developers who have secured planning permission in the area. Up to £118,000 from the Section 106 funding pot will be used to fund the work at Wellington Drive, as well as improvements to safety gates at other play areas in the district, with a further £50,000 coming from the council’’s parks and open spaces budget.
Gates will also be replaced at other sites across the district to improve access.
A cabinet report said: “The site at Wellington Drive occupies an area of 0.9 hectares and needs upgrading, thereby providing an opportunity to not only install new modern play equipment but to also enhance and improve the open space, making it a more usable and pleasant site. Wellington Drive play area sits within a deprived area of Cannock and Staffordshire with above average childhood obesity and above the Staffordshire average number of children in deprived income families.
“The existing formal play area is 300m2 and it is not fully inclusive. The main flaw with this site is its layout, with the locations of play space and open grass kickabout areas at odds.
“The play equipment is tucked away into the far northwest corner of the site, surrounded by the brook and woodlands on two sides with only one access gate. Both play area and grass kick about are accessed via a well-worn gravel bridge with no barriers or gates for security,
“The project includes the provision and relocation of a new fully accessible and equipped play area, new formal hard surfaced footpaths, relocation of grass kick about area and a new site access barrier; all aimed to encourage the Wellington Drive site to be used more constructively for sport and active recreation and to be more enjoyable for its users.
“Significant development has taken place on the former Parker Hannifin site, in the last 10 years or so, in the Cannock South Ward. As such the council could utilise the funding identified from the new housing development to deliver new and improved play and recreational facilities to the Wellington Drive site.
“A safety gate replacement programme has been developed to improved pedestrian and maintenance access to play areas across the district to enable easier and better access for members of the public as well as contractors and site maintenance operatives.”
The plans were welcomed by cabinet members at their meeting on Thursday.
Councillor Adrienne Fitzgerald, who presented the report, said: “A new attractive park attracts people and it’s lovely for the area.”
Council leader Olivia Lyons said: “I really welcome this report having been to the park. It was last updated in 2001, it has a lot of use and work is long overdue.
“What’s really important about this is the open green space around it fits into the proposals to develop the area. We are keen to improve play areas – over the past two years and particularly coming out of Covid we have realised how important they are.
“I think it will be a fantastic improvement and really benefit children and adults alike.”
Councillor Mike Sutherland said: “It’s much needed. We have found when out and about post-Covid some of our parks were dreadful and it’s good we are getting on with it.”