The “Larkhill Open Space” is well used but the project is far from complete. I sometimes call it “shoestring park”, which seems to get more and more appropriate the way budgets are going.
Back in 2005, the public consultation slated the small children’s play area off Akeman Close after much anti-social behaviour. It was removed.
If you look at the Parish notice board (by the lower bridge), you’ll see that the King Arthur Drive play area was then identified as needing to grow to cover all ages and the extra load from Percivale, etc.
Although the KAD play area is heavily used, it provides fairly poor quality play – at times it’s little more than somewhere to “hang out”. Part of the problem is the equipment which is to an older design and in places, decaying. There also isn’t much variety and the area is having to cope with about three times the number of people it was designed for.
Although the adjoining woods provide some excellent “free play”, that is only really attractive for certain ages and only in spring/summer.
The kick-about area is kept fairly tidy but the surface slopes unevenly (it is the top of an old landfill which has settled over the years). It would be nice to improve the grass surface.
During the recent election campaign we heard a lot “on the doorstep” about anti-social behaviour in the Larkhill area, often reporting “bored youths and older children”. Of course, very little of this gets reported through formal systems, perhaps because people don’t like to bother the Police.
John and I have been speaking to local residents to get their views. What we’re hoping to do at this stage is to arrange a detailed consultation later this year, with a view to refurbishment early next year. Of course, everything about the LOSP project is done in conjunction with Brympton Parish Council, who are a key funding partner and who normally take the lead on consultation. We all need to make sure that whatever is done is going to deliver attractive play without becoming a problem for neighbours.
All we have to do now is find the funding …