2017-01-11 14.22.10

Sometimes it’s good to visit a ‘site’ before you discuss it at a council meeting. So today I wondered along to John Fisher Playground, otherwise known as the Grange playground, to see what sort of state it was in.

Sometimes you get that kind of heart sinking moments and this was one of them. Whilst most of the play equipment remained intact, it really is showing it’s age and signs of little maintenance. It’s sad when you see this as play areas like this are lovely, traditional spots for children to socialise outside of the school playground and also an opportunity for parents to enjoy their children in the outdoors. As a parent myself, it’s one of the few outings when you don’t have to dip into your pocket!

Rayleigh Town Council has already decided on the transfer of the play equipment maintenance from Rochford District Council to Rayleigh Town Council. Rayleigh Town Council is renown for it’s high standards of maintenance in King George’s Park, so this really is a test for them. On the surface it looks like a good idea, though I do have my concerns over sustainability of the maintenance in the long term. Just as once Rochford District Council could afford to maintain these play areas (they now have a budget of around £25k for the whole district), who’s to say Rayleigh Town Council won’t be hit by the same cuts and strains on their finances in the future years?

I happy to report, that RDC’s officer responsible for these play areas will be in attendance at the meeting on Monday to answer a question I have put to Rochford Council, as to whether they will transfer section 106 payments over to Rayleigh Town Council that they have received from developers. Once the better weather comes along (hopefully), it would be nice for these areas to be reignited with the sound of children’s laughter and happy memories.

If you are able to attend the meeting please come along. You can speak if you wish or I would be happy to hear from you prior to the meeting to put your views forward on your behalf.

I will updated this post after Monday with more information…..

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About the author 

James Newport

Essex County Councillor for Rayleigh North, Rochford District Councillor for Downhall & Rawreth and Rayleigh Town Councillor for Sweyne.

  • Thank you James. It would be brilliant if we had a decent park to escape to on a sunny day, down the grange end of Rayleigh. I think of this daily!

  • Hi James, Are you able to confirm what the meeting is on Monday and time and place it is being held?

  • Hello, I am glad to see this article
    I have been chasing the return of the swings since they were taken away 2 weeks before the children’s summer holidays and not returned.
    This Play ground is a vital part of our children’s lives – at a time when the streets are becoming every more dangerous and congested.
    I am happy you are taking this up – I was given a name of X when I continued to embarrass ROCHFORD council via twitter but have not taken this up with him #
    Can you therefore express my disappointment in this are not being kept up and I am sure if the councils could not afford it local residents alike would happily steep in ( should we get a reduction in our council tax) to maintain such an area – or at least raise funds to have it put right.

    • Hi Damien,
      As a parent myself, I know how important these type of facilities to not only the children but to the parents as well. The funding is an issue, however, I hope you realise that on the face of it, it would appear as a shift of funding to get Rayleigh Town Council to agree to fund it (which residents pay for) and release Rochford District Council from the responsibility. Another reason I’m told is that the Town Council, could have access to additional funding through grants etc.
      On Monday night I will be asking Rochford District Council to pass the funding they receive(d) from developer (in this locality) contributions to Rayleigh Town Council. This, in my opinion, will make the idea more feasible in the long term (as they will have cash reserves for maintenance) rather than a ‘band-aid’ solution.
      Just my opinion of course but hopefully one that makes sense. If you want to speak further feel free to contact me. Trust me, I will be fighting hard for a long term solution and not looking simply for a ‘quick fix’ for Rochford District’s budgetary problems.

      Best Wishes


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