Conservative Councillors on Loughton and Great Holm Parish Council have refused to put cash towards a revamp of a well-used children’s play park, putting a £74k project at risk.
A grant application of £50,000 had been agreed by FCC Communities Foundation to refurbish the Ashpole Furlong play park in Loughton, with Milton Keynes Council contributing an additional £16,500. The Parish Council had previously agreed to provide the remaining balance of £7,500, however at the September Parish Council meeting support was voted down by Tory Councillors, meaning the play area could remain dilapidated in the long term.
A newly convened meeting on the 5th October, with full attendance from Councillors, refused to reverse the decision putting the project and promise to local residents at risk.
Plans to revamp the park have come about following consultation where there was strong support from local residents. They include modernising play equipment, increasing play value of the park and improving inclusivity. The play area is the only piece of public open space in this part of Loughton and is linked into the city through the redway system, ensuring it is accessible.
Labour Councillor for Loughton and Shenley, Cllr Zoe Nolan, said: “The refurbishment of this park has been in development for several years and it is deeply upsetting that at the last minute Tory Parish Councillors have deemed it fit to refuse previously agreed support from the Parish Council and stop the children’s play park going ahead.”
She continued: “This is a £74,000 investment in our children’s play area costing the Parish £7,500. To risk residents losing this play park in an attempt to halt progress by myself as a local Labour Councillor is unprofessional and not in the community spirit of a Parish Council. It is horrible to let children down in this way.”
She concluded: “I will be doing everything I can to reverse this decision and ensure that residents get the Ashpole Furlong play park that they were promised.”