Improvements to Stannington playground in place after parents sign petition

Written by Chloe Bowen

Improvements are to be made to a Sheffield playground after parents sign a petition expressing their concerns over safety.

These concerns arose after recent bad weather created muddy conditions in Stannington Park.

Councillor Mary Lea, Cabinet member for Culture, Parks and Leisure, said: “The bad weather has presented lots of challenges in our parks and I understand the frustrations of local parents who want to use this playground and cannot.”

The main issue is the water logging, but plans are being developed for updated drainage and improvements to playground equipment.

Cllr Lea said: “We’ve listened to those concerns and now have a plan in place to improve this much-loved playground for children and families, which will enable everyone access throughout the year.”

Emily Baughan, from Sheffield, said most playground refurbishments tend to be funded by donors and campaigners. The petition for Stannington Park improvements has proven instrumental for initiating a plan.

She said: “The pandemic has revealed both how little public space there is for children, and that much of it isn’t fit for purpose. Recovery plans for the young need to focus not just on play but resourcing.”

But local parents are frustrated that this isn’t being made a top priority by the council. They have argued that local people should not be the ones having to raise funds to keep places up to date and safe for everybody to use.

The ground conditions have caused frustration at a time when lockdown means parks and green spaces are being used more than ever. Residents have also stressed that the park is not accessible for everybody, so improvements are urgent.

Julie Levitt, a frequent visitor to the park, said: “This isn’t just about a few kids getting muddy, it’s more about accessibility. I see parents with prams avoiding the playground because tackling the mud and keeping up with a toddler is neither easy nor enjoyable.

“My daughter uses a mobility scooter and that makes it impossible for her to take my grandson to the park to play.”

Once the plan is ready, the options to improve the playground will be shared with the local community for comment and feedback.

To sign the petition, click here.

Written by Chloe Bowen

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