Play area work starts

CONSTRUCTION work is finally under way on a new children's play area that has taken three years to plan and implement.The £50,000 recreation park in Halifax Road on the Maidenhall Estate in Ipswich is due to be completed this month (April).

CONSTRUCTION work is finally under way on a new children's play area that has taken three years to plan and implement.

The £50,000 recreation park in Halifax Road on the Maidenhall Estate in Ipswich is due to be completed this month (April).

Ipswich Borough Council has been given a six month extension by the government to complete all planned projects as strict council deadlines did require the park to be finished by the end of the month.

The park is being built using funds from the liveability grant which was allocated to electoral wards throughout Ipswich by central government more than three years ago.

And despite the large sum of money allocated to the building of the park, funds do not cover the tiny tot's area so when the work is finally finished, new money will need to be found to complete the last stage.

Judy Terry, the Ipswich borough councillor responsible for culture, leisure and the arts, said: “There was originally a time limit to spend the money but the government has expanded it because we've got some excellent schemes in hand.

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“We've had to do lots of consultation with local councillors and forums and implement schemes which local people agree that they want. Halifax Road is the last of a few projects.”

She said more urgent projects, such as street lighting, may have taken priority over the play area.

Work only began on the park, which includes a multi-sports court, play area and teen shelter, a few weeks ago after problems occurred with its location.

The park was originally planned for the Old Stoke area on the other side of the railway line but after much deliberation it was finally decided that that site was not suitable.

Philip Smart, a labour councillor for Bridge ward, said: “It couldn't be built at Stoke ward because their wasn't a suitable site as there's a criss-cross of old terraced housing and not much in the way of public open space.”

On the three year wait for the park he said: “It is frustrating. If you miss it by five years you miss it out of someone's life completely.”

He added: “The fact that we've managed to do it at all is an achievement.”

Residents of Bridge ward are delighted at the prospect of having a new park for parents and children on the estate.

Graham Moore, chairman of the Maidenhall Residents' Association, said: “We have tried for many years to get a decent play area for the children of our estate.”

He added: “We are now trying to get some funding for the area for younger children and we have applied to the council to see if we can get some money together.”

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

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