Parents' fears of play centre closure

PARENTS and community leaders have today claimed they have been left in the dark over the possible closure of a popular play centre.Rumours that the Landseer Road play centre in Hogarth Road, Ipswich, is set to close have been rife within the community for several months, prompting parents to take action.

PARENTS and community leaders have today claimed they have been left in the dark over the possible closure of a popular play centre.

Rumours that the Landseer Road play centre in Hogarth Road, Ipswich, is set to close have been rife within the community for several months, prompting parents to take action.

A petition, signed by 140 concerned parents, was presented to Chris Mole MP at a recent family fun day held at the Tree House Sure Start Centre, Clapgate Lane, Ipswich.

The Ipswich Borough Council owned centre provides activities for youngsters aged between six and 18.

The council has today said the centre may be transferred to the Scout movement in order to “maximise usage”.

But councillor John Mowles said the parents wanted assurance that all the activities from the play centre and from the Scout building would be able to continue.

Most Read

He said: “That assurance has not yet been forthcoming and by keeping users and residents as well as the local councillors in the dark it has added to the uncertainty.

“What the council has in mind might be quite sensible.

“But why the secrecy? The lack of an open discussion by the council fuels speculation that what the council has in mind might not be such a good idea.”

Manager of the Tree House centre, Sandra Shears, said: “This is something that has come up within the community and it's a real local concern.

“There have been a lot of rumours and there's been no communication about it whatsoever about what is going to happen.”

Sonia Croft, 33, of Hossack Road, Ipswich, is a member of the parent's forum based at the Tree House, she has two 14-year-olds who regularly use the community resource in Landseer Road.

She said: “Lots of kids use the centre and if they close it I'm worried crime rates in the area will increase because they will have nothing to do and nowhere to go.

“There are no other children's centres around here.”

The chairman of the parent's forum, Yvonne Driver, said: “No one can get a straight answer and we are all worried it's going to be closed and the services will no longer run.”

An IBC spokesman said: "A preliminary play services report is going to the council's executive next week that seeks to transfer ownership of Landseer play centre to the scout movement in a bid to maximise its usage.

“In exchange, the scouts would surrender their lease on the adjacent premises.

“This site could then be developed to the benefit of the local community.

“If we can finalise this arrangement, the scouts will be required to commit to making the facility available to other local community groups where possible.”

Are you concerned about the possible closure of the Landseer Play Centre? What do you think?

Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter