Why was play equipment removed from former recreation ground at the bottom of Done Cerce close, Dunchurch

Ashley Mills made this Freedom of Information request to Warwickshire County Council

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Dear Warwickshire County Council,

This is a follow-up to my previous request (your reference 5766860)

I previously asked about the former recreation ground at the bottom of Done-Cerce close, Dunchurch and one of the questions was why the play equipment was removed. WCC response was:

"The play equipment would have been removed to allow the area to be added to
WCC Tenanted land."

Whilst technically this is the reason, this doesn't really answer the question why fully, and this may be due to the ambiguity in what I have asked. Please answer the following to clarify:

1. Why was the play equipment and park not maintained as part of the green space provision for Dunchurch?
2. Whose decision was it to let the field?
3. Is there a corresponding minuted council meeting where this was discussed?

Yours faithfully,

Ashley Mills

Warwickshire County Council

 
Information request
Our reference: 5823516

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Dear Ashley Mills
 
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Business Support Team Leader

Business & Customer Services, Resources Directorate
Warwickshire County Council,
Shire Hall, Warwick, CV34 4RL

 

 

 

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Warwickshire County Council

1 Attachment

 
Information request
Our reference: 5823516

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Dear Ashley Mills
 
Thank you for your request for information received on 27 July 2020.
 
Please find attached our response to your request.
 

 Kind regards

Charlotte Mackin
Business Support Team Leader

Business & Customer Services, Resources Directorate
Warwickshire County Council,
Shire Hall, Warwick, CV34 4RL

 

 
NOTE: Please do not edit the subject line when replying to this email.

Ashley Mills left an annotation ()

I obtained the minutes from the meeting where the fate of the land was decided, the relevant section is as follows:

"Update on Arkwright Playground & Future of Don Cerce Play Area The Council had planned to replace unsafe play equipment removed from Don Cerce play area from the Playgrounds and Youth Provision earmarked fund, however when the original lease with WCC ended, WCC were only willing to renew the lease on a rolling annual basis. Under his tenure as Chair, former Cllr Aird had sought a minimum of a 10 year lease on the land, however it had not been known at the time if the land might be needed for the Infant and Junior schools. WCC gave permission for new equipment to be installed and would give six months notice of removal, identifying an alternative site or reimbursement of the write down value, which this Council found unacceptable.

DPC continues to hold a one-year lease and is in the process of replacing fencing at the insistence of WCC and spends £800 a year on mowing the area. Councillors discussed either approaching WCC to request an extended lease of 5 to 10 years at peppercorn rate and install new play equipment, or handing back the current lease saving on maintenance costs. It was noted the land slopes, has a public footpath across it and is currently mainly used by dog walkers.

Villagers with young children are known to be using the newly opened play area in Cawston but would prefer to have the equivalent available in Dunchurch. Whilst the play equipment at Arkwright Field is dated it is extensively used and has been packed all summer with 10 to 15 children playing there much of the time. Councillors were unclear as to the historical reasons why the play area is so small when there is a large field adjacent - Cllr Jones to investigate any restrictions in extending the play area. It was noted the large field provides a safe enclosed space for ball games. The lack of provision for older children was discussed; it was noted that a skate park would require an appropriate location and substantial grant funding of the order of £80,000. After further discussion, councillors agreed it was preferable to refurbish the play equipment at Arkwright Field.

Cllr D Roberts proposed DPC hand back Don Cerce playing field to WCC, seconded Cllr Sodhi – unanimously agreed."