Sunday, 14 March 2010

Local Blog: Morgan Rec Crowthorne parish council response‏

The Crowthorne Parish Council have sent me a press release in answer to this story 'Parish council meeting disrupted by public unhappy with shelter plans'.

Crowthorne Parish Council 2nd March 2010

Playbuilder Partnership Refurbishment Project -

As Trustees of the Morgan Recreation Ground, Crowthorne Parish Councillors have a duty to provide recreational facilities on this site for the children and youth of Crowthorne Parish Council (CPC). CPC also has a duty to provide facilities for all the Parishioners of Crowthorne,
and the fitness equipment and shelter is for the use of all generations.

On 31st March 2009, a Working Group (WG) was formed for the refurbishment of the Morgan Recreation play area in Partnership with Bracknell Forest Council. Funding was provided through a Government Scheme called Playbuilder. This scheme provides play equipment for
children in the 8-13 age group.

To ensure that the Parish Council consulted widely, the Playbuilder Working Group extended an invitation to the Police and a local (Just Around the Corner) youth worker, who had already worked amongst the young people of Crowthorne and had been involved in an earlier
Antisocial Behaviour WG, to join the Playbuilder WG. It was strongly recommend by the co-opted members, that the youths should have facilities of their own e.g. a tuck shop or a toilet. As their recommendation was not included in the Playbuilder remit funding, the
fitness equipment and shelter were agreed to be separately funded by Bracknell Forest S106 funding.

A Public consultation was completed in July 2009, which included local school children of various ages. Residents were also canvassed in Crowthorne High Street, and Consultation forms were handed out to parents and children attending the Summer Play Scheme, which is run by the local police on the Morgan Recreation Ground. During the consultation, the Parish received 240 responses. A large percentage of the children, aged between 8 -13 years, responded to the consultation indicating that they would feel more comfortable and less intimidated by the older children and would prefer to be separated from them, highlighting the need for a separate area for this older group. With guidance from the co-opted members of the WG, the Thames Valley Police Crime Prevention Design Officer and the results of the Consultation, the position of an appropriate location for additional equipment was agreed.

Thames Valley Police Crime Prevention Design Officer (CPDO) attended the WG meeting in October 2009 and advised how well fitness equipment / shelter had worked in other areas. Winnersh and Shinfield have both confirmed that for their sites the project has been a complete success to the point that both Councils plan more equipment in the future. The
young people see shelters as 'somewhere to go'. CPDO also advised that he thought the siting of the shelter would meet the brief of the 'Secured by Design' Award.

Playbuilder and the Fitness zone & Shelter have been well publicised in the local press and the Design Plans were displayed in Crowthorne Library from 17th December 2009 and extended to 4th January 2010 There were also locally distributed publications from April 2009, including, CPC Notice Boards, the Crowthorne Eye Community Magazine. There were
also many local press releases over the past year.

Following CPC's Parish meeting in January 2010, the design for the Playbuilder scheme including the location for the fitness zone and shelter was approved by Full Council.

Whatever the rights and wrongs of the consultation process I personally feel that overall Crowthrone itself will benefit from these 'Working Groups'. It is a shame that people feel threaten by some of the local teenagers. These new facilities should help reduce any problems. If any future problems occur that are caused by the youths then if they are carefully dealt with and resolved sensibly as im sure they will be.

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