Delays to play area work criticised

Coun Ray Whittingham at the fenced-off play area on Woodhurst Drive in Standish
Coun Ray Whittingham at the fenced-off play area on Woodhurst Drive in Standish

An opposition councillor has hit out at the delays in carrying out refurbishment work at a popular children’s play area.

Coun Ray Whittingham, Conservative member for Standish, criticised Wigan Council over its inability to get the equipment on Woodhurst Drive in the ward open for youngsters to play on.

He says the work has been dragging on for more than 10 weeks and there have been periods with nothing happening and the area fenced off, which has caused concern for Standish parents.

Coun Whittingham also said the area is becoming a target for anti-social behaviour with metal railings surrounding the play equipment and echoed parents’ worries that it would not be open in time for the end of the school year.

The council apologised for how long the work is taking, saying there has been a delay sourcing a particular piece of equipment, and it hoped to be able to announce an installation date later today.

Coun Whittingham said: “I have been approached by quite a few residents surrounding the play ground, they asked if I could try and get things started again to allow completion of the refurbishment in readiness for the school summer holidays.

“In mid-June I got in touch with the council department responsible and they assured me the carpeting works should be completed by June 30 which has now passed and the area still remains cordoned off to the public, excluding damage to the fence caused by vandals.

“I have added a report to my Report It journal and am awaiting their response for recommencement and completion and an explanation why the works were suspended soon after being started.”

Penny McGinty, Wigan Council’s assistant director for corporate contracts and assets, said: “The completion of the play area is an urgent priority and we apologise for the delay caused.

“We have had assurances from the company responsible for the installation of equipment that the work will be carried out as soon as possible.

“Unfortunately they are waiting on the delivery of a specific piece of equipment for the play area before it can be completed. A date for the installation is expected by Monday July 17.”

The renovation of the Standish facility, paid for by money from house-building developments in the area, was announced earlier this year after it made a list of facilities in pressing need of work.

Swings, a multi-unit and other pieces of inclusive play equipment are being installed on a sand-filled carpet surface.