Committee considered the Maidstone Play Area Policy and the updated
map, which had been circulated to Members prior to the
Councillors D Burton, Naghi and D Mortimer addressed the
Committee on this item.
noted that the Leisure Manager made the following amendments to the
·In the table at Paragraph 2.7.4, South Park Play
Area should come under High Street and South Ward.
·The Harbour play area in Sutton Valence should be
added to the list of Strategically Important Play Areas (SIPAs) in
the table at Paragraph 2.7.4.
Leisure Manager highlighted the following points to the
·The Maidstone Play Area Policy was a supporting
document to the Maidstone Parks and Open Spaces 10 Year Strategic
Plan 2017 – 2027, which was adopted by this Committee on 4
·Over the last two years £1.8 million from the
Capital Programme had been invested on play area improvements in
the Borough; 32 play areas had been replaced or improved in line
with the 12 minute standard.
·The 33 Parish Council owned play areas formed an
important part of the SIPA network as they provided play
opportunities to residents in rural areas not covered by Council
provision. To support these play areas, £200,000 had been
made available for a Parish Play Area Grants Scheme over a two year
period, with each Parish Council able to claim up to £10,000
each if they met the criteria.
·Non-Strategic Play Areas (NSPAs) would not be
maintained in the future using the Council’s resources. The
NSPAs would be offered to Parish Councils, Housing Trusts and other
Community Groups to take over. If no interested parties came
forward, the play equipment would be removed when it was no longer
serviceable and retained as green space.
response to a question from the Committee, the Leisure Manager
advised that the methodology used to determine the 12 minute
standard was formed by walking the routes to play areas and taking
into account obstacles such as rivers and motorways. The Officer
affirmed that most residents would live considerably closer than 12
minutes to a play area.
Committee was concerned that the closure of NSPAs would mean that
children of different age groups would be penalised and have no
area suitable that they could play at.
Committee requested that NSPAs be evaluated and reviewed on an
individual basis and that more information regarding usage and
funding sources (specifically Section 106 contributions) be
presented before any decisions regarding the decommissioning of
play areas were made. It was noted that the Committee were keen
that consultation with relevant stakeholders take place before
decisions on individual play areas were made.
response to a question, Officers informed the Committee that the
Parish Play Grants Scheme provided a way of supporting the SIPAs
and that without the scheme being in place the SIPAs could be