Play Area Working Party Update
• 1249 questionnaires were posted, and 255 were returned equalling a 20% return rate: 10 were returned incomplete (number missing) and 4 were received back after the deadline date; none of these are included in the data
• Response from the east end (east of Roundhill Road) of the village, at 25%, was
considerably higher than the west end (west of Roundhill Road); this was expected
considering it would be the east end of the village who would benefit from the second play area, and where there would be greater objection due to noise etc
• Overall, the vote at 52.5% to ‘yes’ (to a second play area) and 47.5% was ‘no’. However,
splitting the village into east and west (using Roundhill Road as the divider) the ‘yes’ vote
decreased to 49%: the homes alongside Westfield Drive returned the greater response to the questionnaire which was predominantly ‘no’ to a second play area
• There were many comments made regarding concerns about increased anti-social
behaviour/ traffic volumes and noise for residents around the Manor Field area, should a
second play area be located there; this sentiment was made by not only the residents
themselves, but from other areas of the village
• Even though there were no questions asked/ indications regarding the Grange play area, 34% of the responses stated that they wanted to see the Grange facilities improved, and an extra 5% of the questionnaires stated that the Grange was the best location in the village for a play area: 6 responses, who had said ‘yes’ to a second play area even said that they believed the Grange should be improved
• 38% of the overall responses stated that the play facilities at the Grange needed to include better facilities for teens; the questionnaire questioning was predominantly aimed at a younger ages (under 11years), as it was felt that any second play area would be much smaller than at the Grange, so would be limited in what could be offered, as well as recognising that younger children in the east of the village were the ones who would benefit most from closer/ easier access to play facilities
• Overall, from those who stated ‘yes’, the Manor Field was the main location named as a suitable area
• 91 of the responses named an actual area in the east end of the village, showing that there is a lot of support/ a requirement for improved play facilities in the east end of Hurworth
•There was a slightly higher response to facilities being suitable for the 0 to 5 years age range, than to the 6 to 11 age range
•As already stated, there were a number of comments made that the village is lacking in facilities for teens; many of these comments suggesting that the Grange facilities need to be improved
•Even those who had answered ‘no’ to a second play area, gave an indication of what play facilities they thought were needed (31% said yes to the 0 to 5 age range, and 29% said yes to the 6 to 11 age range)
•From the ‘no’ to a second play area, 41/ 72% specifically mentioned that the Grange should be improved
•101/ 40% of the overall responses stated that they looked after children in some capacity
•43/ 43% of those who said yes to looking after children actually voted ‘no’ to a second play area, and 36/ 84% of these specifically requested that the Grange play area is upgraded
Response from Darlington Borough Council – Received 20thOctober 2020
Darlington Borough Council (DBC) stance would be not to support a second play area in the village for a number of reasons. As has already been mentioned by Bree the additional costs that come with maintaining a new play area is a factor especially when the maintenance budget for playground maintenance in the borough has been frozen for the next couple of years.
However, the key reason is Darlington Borough Councils play strategy is focused around outdoor play being central to a young child’s learning and development. By developing the current play area it will give the authority the opportunity to create a play area in Hurworth that will be able to target all age ranges, with elements which specifically ensure access for young children that do not have the current physical ability to use the larger items, whilst introducing high impact, dynamic and challenging pieces of play equipment for older children wanting to push and stretch themselves. It will also enable the authority to introduce pieces of play equipment to the area that will enable children with disabilities to play with friends safely in the same environment.
Finally, by developing the current area it will offer play opportunities that cover the full spectrum of play, and includes; Climbing, Sliding, Swinging, Rocking, Jumping, Balancing, Crawling, Gliding, Hanging and Exploring.
A proposed design that covers all of the above has been drawn up; it is my opinion that this proposal would create a play area for Hurworth that would be on a par with the South Park.
I hope this goes some way to explaining DBC stance regarding a second play area. However, if you have any additional queries please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Dean Scott Playgrounds & Compliance Manager
Darlington Borough Council 17 Allington Way Darlington, DL1 4QB
There is a lot of support for a second play area in the village, but as DBC would be responsible for the upkeep of the play area we are dependent on their ‘say so’ for the go ahead.
As the above response clearly states that DBC would not support a second play area in Hurworth, and that there are plans to significantly improve the Grange facilities, the decision at this time is not to proceed with a second play area.
It was clear to the meeting that without the support and commitment of Darlington Borough Council, it will not be possible to construct and maintain a new playground.
A resident asked whether the Section 106 funding, earmarked for the second Playground, can now be redeployed to the enhancement of the Grange playground. The amount being circa £23,000. Cllr Bree Stamp confirmed that this will be the initiative that the Council will now pursue, following the confirmation from questionnaire feedback
stating that is what residents wanted as detailed by Cllr Lynn Wylie.
Cllr Lynn Wylie stated that the feedback from the questionnaires (this was not just from residents in close proximity to the Manorfield, but by residents elsewhere in the village too) was that residents in general wished to
‘keep the Manorfield as an open space’.
A final comment from Chairman Graham Wylie added that, due to the strength of feeling against the Manorfield being developed in any way, along with the fact that there are 2 covenants on the Manorfield, the Manorfield should not be considered again for the siting of a play area.
Earlier this year, the HPC Chairman decided to form a Working Party consisting of three HPC representatives and two local residents. The Working Party remit is to investigate possible locations of a second play area, consult residents via a questionnaire on whether a second play area is required, and if it is, where it should be located.
Contrary to what has been purported on Facebook/ in the anonymous letter sent to several residents in the Manor Field’s vicinity, the purpose of the Working Party (and the HPC) is not to just solely look at the Manor Field, as the only possibility of suitable location, for a proposed second play area.
There is very little green space in the village which can lend itself (suitable size and safe location) to be considered as a location for a play area. The Working Party have made a great effort to investigate and discuss the ‘for’ and ‘against’ for each of these identified areas. However, it is not the decision of either the Working Party, nor the HPC, where the play area is to be located, and it is the residents who will decide where they would like the second play area to be located by completing the referendum questionnaire.
Further to this, any location, which is eventually chosen by the residents, will be subject to planning consent and availability of funding, DBC liaison, design, procurement, project management, safety and maintenance to name a few; I can’t stress this strongly enough, but the final location will be decided following the correct processes, not by the Working Party/ HPC.
The first tranche of 106 money is now available to the village, and although a significant sum of money, it is insufficient to build a play area. The final two tranches of 106 funding are dependent on Millers building and selling a set number of homes. So, if the play area were to be built soon, alternative funding streams may have to be investigated and subsequently applied for.
There are two covenants on the Manor Field, and the decision to allow any development, of the Manor Field, would have to be passed by Darlington Borough Council Planning department. A planning application would be dependent on a positive outcome from the referendum. Currently the Working Party is unaware of any other restrictions, other than suitability (safety/ size), on any of the other green areas/ open spaces within the village. These would have to be fully investigated, should one of these areas be chosen from the result of the referendum. We would welcome any feedback on this if you are aware of any restrictions affecting these areas.
Also, a referendum specific to a second play area has never been put to the entire village (Hurworth and Hurworth Place). A second play area would be a community facility and the HPC believes this should be a community decision.
Work is currently well under way on the referendum questionnaire and will be delivered to all homes as soon as it is ready. Further to this, more detail supporting the referendum (e.g. details and a map of the green areas/ open spaces/ what other information is available from DBC) will be made available on this website to support the eventual questionnaire ahead of the questionnaire being delivered.
Any effort on a second play area will not be to the detriment of improvements required with the Grange play area. Hurworth Parks and Recreation are, and will be, continuing to push this project forward irrelevant of the outcome of the questionnaire.
Cllr Lynn Wylie – Play Area Working Party Chairman