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Officers move to save Telford play area from axe

By Alex Moore | Ironbridge | News | Published:

Plans to demolish an unused play area that residents don’t want to pay to maintain face opposition from council officers.

Premier Estates Ltd have applied to replace swings and a see-saw with grass at Reynolds Wharf, Coalport, saying residents voted five-to-one against paying more than £7,500 towards the upkeep of the equipment.

But Telford & Wrekin Council Healthy Spaces officers oppose the plans, saying the homes might not have received permission without the inclusion of the play area, which they say is publicly accessible and the only such facility within two miles.

The Gorge Parish Council will be consulted, and the borough council’s planning department will make the final decision at a later date.

Planning permission for homes at Reynolds Wharf was granted in 2001 and a play area was included, but Macclesfield-based Premier Estates say it is “only infrequently used and spends much of its time sitting unused”.

After a 2017 safety assessment, Reynolds Wharf Residents Association obtained quotes for maintenance work.

The company’s planning statement says: “Given the play area is wholly private, all repairs would need to be funded by the 42 property owners at the development, the most significant cost being the replacement of the rubberised surface.”

Eighty-three per cent of residents taking part in a survey “requested the play area be removed to avoid further costs,” it adds.

The statement says the play area “has always had very limited use” because “access to the development for the public is forbidden”, but the objection notice from the Healthy Spaces team contradicts this.

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“I can confirm this residential area contains publicly-accessible open space, including the children’s equipped play area,” it says.

“I can also confirm the council offered to adopt the public open space/play area, but that this was rejected by the applicants which were going to set up a management company to maintain the POS. The provision of the play area was a key element of the approval of the development.”

It adds that the nearest alternative play area is at Dale End Park, Coalbrookdale, two-and-a-half miles from Reynolds Wharf.

“As such, Healthy Spaces strongly oppose the removal of this public play area, which is the only one serving the local community,” it says.

Reynolds Wharf has signs at its entrance advising drivers and pedestrians that it is private property, with no public right of way and no through road, but it is not protected by a gate or other barrier.

Alex Moore

By Alex Moore
@TelfordLDR

Local Democracy Reporter covering Telford.

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