Budleigh Salterton play park row

Budleigh Salterton councillor Caz Sismore-Hunt in angry the district council has removed a ‘favourite’ piece of play equipment from Norman Crescent. She said the speed at which the slide and climbing wall was removed has not been reciprocated when replacing the equipment.

Budleigh Salterton councillor Caz Sismore-Hunt has hit out in anger at the district council’s decision to take away a climbing wall and slide over claims it overlooks neighbouring properties.

Cllr Sismore-Hunt said residents had been aware the park would be in situ – as it was on the deeds – and has questioned how funds were quickly found to remove the equipment, but appeared less forthcoming for a replacement.

She said many children had lost their favourite piece of equipment because of the council’s inability to listen to the community.

Cllr Sismore-Hunt said the community had been keen for greater facilities for under-fives.

She said: “It took us so long to get this and now they say they haven’t got the money to replace it from the budget - but they used the money from the budget to remove it.

“I would like to know why they can’t get the replacement put in as quickly as they took the slide away. A lot of people are angry this has happened.

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“Every one of those residents at Normans Crescent knew that play park was going to be there, it was on the deeds. If they didn’t like it, why buy a flat overlooking the area?

“We all try to live in harmony, but at the end of the day we can’t go down that road that Budleigh Salterton hasn’t got any young children.”

East Devon District Council said the decision to remove the equipment had been taken following a complaint the climbing wall and slide was too close to a property and causing a lack of privacy to one resident.

The council said it intended to install equipment for toddlers as a replacement – and also add another climbing feature situated at a distance from any homes.

The district council said the new toddler equipment would be installed once existing anti-social behaviour issues had been resolved.

An EDDC spokesman said a small amount of developers’ cash will be used to fund public art in the play area, which residents will be consulted on.

A district council spokesman said: “In order to keep all parties happy, we have come up with a compromise arrangement that will, once work is finished, give the resident more privacy and the children an even better play area than before.

“The first stage was to remove the slide and climbing wall. We intend to replace them with equipment for toddlers in line with suggestions from residents and a request from Budleigh Salterton Town Council as part of phase two of the play area. This equipment will be closer to the ground than the previous equipment.”

A legally-binding contract is in place as part of the Norman’s Crescent development, stating the developer should provide a play area.

EDDC worked with residents and local schoolchildren to design the new play area, and Norman’s Crescent residents chose the final design at a play event held in the autumn 2009.

The play area was formally opened on 6 April 2010.