Parents start petition to improve rundown children’s play area in Brighton park

Posted On 16 Mar 2016 at 9:06 am
By Claire Jacobs

Two mums from Brighton have started a petition urging the council to make their local children’s park safer.

They were told that no funds had been allocated for repairs this year by Brighton and Hove City Council.

They said that a third of the play equipment is broken at Farm Green Park, the only park in Lower Bevendean, while the rest is run down.

The asphalt floor surfaces are covered in mould and have deteriorated to the point that parents are complaining that their children are slipping or tripping up on it.

Council repairs

Bevendean Farm Green Park 01

Jayne Van Rensburg, a mother of two, first contacted the council’s CityParks department last September to ask if they could update the play equipment. She was told that there was no budget to do so.

She contacted CityParks again in November to ask if they could assess the safety of the park’s equipment. She was concerned about the level of deterioration of the park and the potential risks that came with this.

She said: “There is a missing swing and a hazardous patch of asphalt under the missing swing that trips up children.

“The monkey handlebars are broken and to be honest completely age inappropriate and too high for primary school age children that use the park.

“The entire playground is covered in a layer of green moss and is extremely slippery.

“Considering that this playground is extremely popular and therefore has a very high usage, the facilities provided are very poor.”

Bevendean Farm Green Park 02

CityParks administrator Helen Loughnane said at the time that the department was about to embark on a review of the condition of all Brighton and Hove play areas to assess their condition.

The aim was to produce a forward plan for play provision and work with local communities to help make improvements.

An email from Helen Loughnane ended by promising updates but, Jayne Van Rensburg said, there has been no communication since.

Bevendean Farm Green Park 03

Lower Bevendean is one of the most deprived areas of Brighton and Hove. On the national deprivation index it is ranked as the 7000th most deprived area out of 32,000 areas.

Jayne Van Rensburg said: “Bevendean is the forgotten corner of Brighton. The council’s lack of action to maintain the playground has led to a slow decline rendering the park almost derelict, unsafe and with families unwilling to use it.

“This has led to destruction and vandalism of the remaining equipment. However, Bevendean is a family orientated area full of people committed to improving the area and we will do what we can to ensure that our children have a safe, exciting and challenging place to play.”

She started a petition on paper and has since set up an online petition with fellow Bevendean mother Claire Jacobs.

To sign the online petition, click here.

The pair aim to present it to a meeting of the full council on Thursday 24 March.

The mums have been using social media, including Facebook, to try to reach their target of 1,250 signatures in the short time remaining until it’s presented.

Bevendean Farm Green Park 04

Both intend to carry on with their campaign to improve the park regardless of the outcome at full council as it is a cause that they are passionate about.

Jayne Van Rensburg said: “It seems that because the area is economically disadvantaged this playground seems to have been ignored totally.

“Bevendean is a family orientated neighbourhood with a supportive community and we are disillusioned by the degradation of the playground on Farm Green rendering the park almost derelict. It is impractical, unsightly and more importantly unsafe.”

Claire Jacobs writes the blog Confessions of a Single Parent Pessimist.

  1. Alex Reply

    Parents Working Bee and people who have equipment, trades and skills and leftover materials will get the job done. Council might help pout with equipment loans. Make an event of it – a picnic or cake bake. This is commonplace in many countries when things are tight. Spend efforts on getting the community to solve the problem rather than petitioning the council.

    • Claire Jacobs Reply

      My issue is that every single other park in the city has all of it’s equipment repaired or replaced (i have seen documentation of this) whereas Farm Green is the only park that still has broken equipment and no plans for refurbishment.
      It is unfair.
      Whilst fundraising is something we are looking into, realistically it will cost thousands which is hard to raise in such a small community

  2. C side Reply

    I sympathise with the issue but Alex is correct. Central government have cut local budgets to the point where basic amenities are being lost. We need to do it ourselves whilst working to get rid of this government.
    Claire in afraid othet parks e.g. Hollingdean are in a similar state.

    • Bruce Reply

      actually the playground in Hollingdean is just being refurbished (works are in progress at the moment).

    • Carolyn Reply

      they have just started a work on the park in Hollingdean, most of it cordoned off….there must be funds available somewhere. How about applying for a grant to do it if the council won’t help.

  3. Dave Eve Reply

    Just a suggestion, maybe the Residents Association could source funding from the Estate Developement Budget? Just saying because that park is in very poor condition.

  4. Harris fitch Reply

    Used to play down here as a youth with cousins and younger sister, let’s hope some funding can be found.

  5. Kate Reply

    In a civilised world, a council puts the health of its children first. Suggesting to people that they club together to improve things is not a long term solution for things. Councils need to invest, now and in the future, in playgrounds for this generation and future ones. They can keep selling us the austerity line, but before long, so much will have been cut it’ll be impossible to know what will actually be left. You can’t mess around ignoring playgrounds and parks. These are healthy, communal places for the benefit of us all. They are NOT luxuries and we should not accept that we need to tighten our purse strings. Would love to see them look a six year old in the eyes and tell them ‘sorry, there isn’t money to make this safe’.

  6. C side Reply

    Kate your anger is justified but aimed at the wrong place. Central government are starving local government i.e. The council of money that provides for these facilities. Apart from communities doing it for themselves and getting rid of this government the only other solution is we all pay more council tax to raise the funds. The fact is local councils have done an amazing job of protecting the community from savage cuts for the last 6 years but at this point there are no more easy savings and services are suffering. If you’ve got a solution speak up but just demanding someone else do something with money that doesn’t exist won’t solve the problem.

  7. Rachel Reply

    A lot of the other parks have “friends of ..” Associations that deal with the general upkeep of their local park . I clean Hove park in my own time to help keep it looking nice . There are schemes that will help fund play equipment you just have to look for them . Rightly or wrongly the council don’t have the finances or resources to deal with this so we have to roll our sleeves up and solve these issues ourselves for our own community .

  8. Mitch Alexander Reply

    By hook or by crook will WILL get it done! I have been looking into various funding options and i think we will come up with some good ideas by our meeting next Thursday! It just takes some bouncing round of ideas and energy and we will have a park to be proud of! I don’t think any money will be squeezed out of the council due to their huge cuts from the Tory government. And now since their alarming announcement that they plan to turn all schools into academies, the council will receive even less funding. But WE SHOULDN’T let that stop us as there IS funding out there for this project. There is also creativity within our own community that we can tap into so that we can also run some exciting activities in the park this summer! And we CAN do all this and we CAN do this all now! Yippee …this feels good!

  9. Dawn Reply

    It is unfair. Brighton council make a huge profit, which is sent back to central government and distributed to councils that don’t . Is unfair that our rents, taxes, parking fees etc pay for other councils when here in our own city our parks, homes, estates and services are being cut and suffering.

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