As part of a positive legacy for Christchurch following the inception of BCP Council in 2019, Cabinet is to consider proposals for the play areas in Bluebell Close, Mudeford Wood and the whole of Highcliffe Recreation Ground to be transferred to Highcliffe and Walkford Parish Council.
Alongside this transfer, cabinet will also consider an agreement to share the grounds maintenance and play inspection liabilities over a period of five years, based on the high service standards previously delivered.
Leader of the Council, Councillor Drew Mellor commented: “This transfer is great news for the residents of Christchurch and Highcliffe in particular. Transferring these recreation sites over to the Parish Council will enable them to maintain the play and recreation offering for local residents within their Parish, and make enhancements which may include proposals for a sensory garden within Highcliffe Recreation Ground.”
All three sites received playground refurbishments in 2019 as part of the Christchurch Play Project, a £1.2 million investment into local playgrounds across Christchurch that was undertaken to maximise usage of the sites and ensure a lasting legacy for future generations.
Councillor Mark Anderson, Portfolio Holder for Environment, Cleansing and Waste commented:
“Having access to local play areas and green open spaces has become so important for people over the last year. We are passionate about our communities and helping everyone lead a fulfilled life so we will work closely with the Parish Council to ensure a seamless transfer of these public open spaces.”
In line with protocol, these sites were formally advertised in a proposed disposal notice earlier in the year, which received no objections.
If agreed by BCP Council’s cabinet on 26 May, the Parish Council – which was established following the reorganisation in 2019 to represent and support the interests of the community – will take control of these sites in the summer.