A 2.7 million boost for parks and play improvements across Reading, including enhancements to make playgrounds more accessible, has been announced as part of the Council’s proposed capital investment programme over the next 3 years.
Just over £1.6 million will contribute to the expansion, replacement or upgrading of playground equipment in parks and play areas across the borough.
There will be a focus on areas in most need of new equipment and a big drive on providing accessible equipment for children of all abilities, particularly in areas where there is little provision for children with disabilities.
People will have a chance to feedback on any specific plans for their local play areas as part of a public consultation later this year.
In addition the investment includes £603K for leisure and play from the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) – the contribution developers are expected to make towards local facilities – which will be aligned with the results of a public consultation last year on where the money should be spent.
Reading’s two main parks, Prospect Park and Palmer Park, are priorities for improvements to play equipment, including the provision or replacement of obsolete equipment for children with disabilities. Park users and local residents will be consulted on the type of equipment they want to see.
Cllr Sarah Hacker, Reading’s Lead Member for Culture, Heritage and Recreation, said: “We know that parks and open spaces are one of the most valued amenities in Reading.
“It is one of our key priorities that we provide accessible equipment in as many of our playgrounds as possible so that children of all abilities can play together.
“As difficult as the budget position is, the Council is committed to delivering real improvements for residents in the areas we know matter to them. Over the next three years this investment will benefit all residents as our parks are one of few places people can enjoy themselves for nothing and benefit from the opportunity to keep fit.
“We also fully intend that once our capital investment programme is approved, local people will be consulted on proposed improvements.”
View the proposed capital investment programme here: https://democracy.reading.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=138&MId=1842
The council’s proposed capital investment programme for the period 2019/20 to 2021/22 is key to the council’s services and for the continuing success of the Reading economy. It aims to improve and modernise services and facilities across the town so that every resident can benefit.
The capital programme is funded from a combination of successful bids for grants, current cheap borrowing available to councils, the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL), which is the contribution developers are expected to make towards local facilities, infrastructure funding from the Local Enterprise Partnership and capital receipts, which are received when the council sells a building it no longer needs. This funding is different from the money the council uses to run services and it cannot be used to pay for day to day services.