Councillors discuss play equipment refurbishments for Thatcham Parks
Thatcham councillors are discussing possible replacements and refurbishments for play park equipment across the town.
Play equipment in the town is assessed weekly but since lockdown there has been greater wear and tear on these children's facilities.
Travel restrictions that came with the pandemic meant that families and children have spent more time in parks rather than on holiday.
Additionally, there were a greater number of older groups of children spending their free time around these areas; more than before the pandemic.
A number of different pieces of equipment are now being considered for either a refurbishment or replacement, depending on the level of risk it poses to those who play on it.
A report shared in a Thatcham Town Council recreations and amenities meeting identified different pieces of equipment from various parks that may need refurbishment or replacement.
One of the items discussed was the spring helicopter at Moorside play area, which has been considered a low risk facility but is being considered for replacement.
This is on the grounds that the item has rotting, damage, moss, and is “at the end of life”.
The damaged fencing in the Crowfield Drive play area is up for repairs, with rubber mulch to be applied to the base of the slide.
The item as it stands is considered a moderate risk.
The removal of an entire slide at Dunstan Green play area has also been discussed among councillors.
David Lister (Lib Dem, Thatcham West) said: “The slide has been there for so many years and there’s never been a problem with it.”
Mr Lister also raised the issue of removing an item that was used by older children.
He said: “I feel like we are missing facilities for older children to keep them active and engaged and off the children’s equipment.”
But Thatcham town council services manager, Mike Aslin, said that after considering other options in making the area safer, “a new slide might be something we do.”
Jeremy Cottom (Lib Dem, Thatcham North East) said: “It’s a sad loss, I used to walk my children there, it’s outlived its use and we need to put it in a better place.”
The toddler’s multi-play facility at Dunstan Green is also being considered for either a replacement or refurbishment as it currently poses a moderate risk.
The risks highlighted include dents in the slide, loose fixings, missing inserts, finger entrapments in the frame, chain wear, rotted timber, corrosion, and flaking metalwork.
Thatcham councillors voted in favour of a replacement for this item rather than a refurbishment.
There was also discussion of fence repairs and Siege Cross play park and a reinstallation of a loose see-saw at Pound Lane play area.
The refurbishments were then discussed further in a full town council meeting on September 27, where the mentioned repairs and replacements were given the go ahead.