Emsworth parents take action to improve play area

Sarah Taylor, front right, with other parents delighted at the building of the new playground in Southleigh Road
Sarah Taylor, front right, with other parents delighted at the building of the new playground in Southleigh Road
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Emsworth youngsters will have a new place to play thanks to the campaign efforts by a group of parents.

The play area in the Hollybank Recreation Ground, in Southleigh Road, has been a bone of contention for parents who have lobbied for it to be improved for a number of years.

Work started at the beginning of March to transform it into a more friendly place to play, and it is all but complete.

Chairman of the Southleigh Park Recreation Improvement Group (SPRIG) Sarah Taylor started the project, which was funded by a £50,000 grant from the government’s Playbuilder scheme, and £10,000 from waste management company Veolia, two years ago.

She said: “We are all feeling really happy that through working together we have been able to bring about this change, it should be something really positive for the Emsworth area.

“The children are very excited about it, as are their friends.

“I have to say this has been a very strong partnership with Havant Borough Council.

“We would not have got off the ground without them.”

SPRIG is now embarking on another project.

They will find out at the end of April if they have been successful in getting a £50,000 grant from the Changing Spaces scheme to rebuild the other play area at the park for pre-school aged children.

Mrs Taylor said: “We want to raze it to the ground and start again. It’s outdated and it doesn’t really fit in now.”

Mrs Taylor, who lives in Hollybank Lane, decided to take action after visiting the park with her daughters, Hannada, six, and Laura, four, and husband Richard, and realising how much better it could be.

Mrs Taylor conducted hundreds of questionnaires and gauged opinion from local residents who felt it also could do with revitalising.

She added: “People were saying how much better it could be, and they were getting in cars and travelling to parks, which is a shame when we have such a great community space.”

Designs for the new area have not yet been put together and it is not too late to submit any ideas for how it might look.

To put forward suggestions contact Mrs Taylor on 07923 543 686.