Community rallies together to call for play area on Wigan estate to be reopened

Fed-up children and their parents are calling for a disused play area on their doorsteps to be reopened.

Tuesday, 29th September 2020, 7:00 am
Agnieszka Kuzma with Julia, five, and Agata, three, with Emma Vaughan and son Toby, one

Disappointed tots have burst into tears after realising they could not use the park on Bexhill Drive, in Hindley Green, and families have had to travel elsewhere to play.

Bellway Homes put fencing around the site last year, after reports a child was hurt there, and despite concerns that houses could be built, it has remained unused since.

Residents on the Yew Tree estate have now come together to call for the park to be revamped and reopened so children can enjoy it once more.

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Committee member John Nolan said: “They have put this temporary fencing up around it and signs saying ‘no entry’. It has been like that for 18 months so kids haven’t been able to go there and parents have been driving or walking miles to use other parks, when they have a perfectly good park here.”

He said children walked past the play area and did not understand why they could not play there.

Neighbour Alison Cox said her three-year-old son Archie runs to the play area and gets upset when he discovers he cannot use it.

She said: “The park is now overgrown, it’s got rodents in there, teenagers climb over the fence at night. It’s a big eyesore. Everyone is trying to find out what’s going on.”

The residents want something done to the park so it can be used and hoped to secure funding through Wigan Council’s The Deal to tidy it up themselves.

While the play area is currently owned by Bellway Homes, it is hoped that it will eventually be transferred to the council.

Mr Nolan said: “The number one priority is getting it tidied up. There are people here prepared to give them a hand. If they send the equipment over, they will have a lot of people helping.”

Councillors have previously helped to improve the area, even mowing the grass themselves.

Coun John Vickers said he negotiated a one-off tidy-up with Bellway last year and was “delighted” that residents were now leading the campaign.

Coun Bob Brierley said he had been working with another group of residents to get the park reopened and would put pressure on the council to take ownership of it.

A Bellway Homes spokesman said: “We are currently working with Wigan Council to find a solution to reopen the play area and we hope to resolve this matter in due course.”

Paul Barton, the council’s director for environment, said: “We plan to reopen the play area as soon as we’re able to and will be maintaining it in the future.”

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