“Agenda item 9, Play Areas Contract, Tuesday, 25/4/17.
Our group voted for the play area improvements contract brought to the Council on Tuesday 25th April, 2017 as we will always support initiatives that will benefit the young people of our town and our Group have in the past requested disabled and adult play equipment be installed in Jubilee Park.
We had asked for the agenda item to be delayed until after Purdah/Local Elections, when the new Councillors would be in place to give all new Councillors opportunity to take ownership, to provide their own input and take responsibility for the £260,000 spend involved. This request was refused as we were informed an urgent decision was required. After viewing the documentation and site plans on the same morning as this meeting, we were given assurances that some of the concerns we raised would be looked at, particularly with regard to possible overspends, and that there would be flexibility in the contract. A report in a local newspaper, published on Monday 1st May, did not refer to any flexibility in the proposed contract. The contract is available for viewing and prior to signing on the day before poll, the day of poll and the day after polling Friday, 5th May, following which it will be signed and posted before any new member has had sight of this! We believe in openness, transparency, responsibility and accountability and believe that all new Councillors will be accountable and must take responsibility for this major contract spend and ensure it remains on budget!
All meetings during Purdah have been on camera but video will not be posted until after local elections. This is the text of the statement read out regarding the Play Area Contract at the meeting held on 25/4/17:
“Firstly, I would like to thank officers for their work in bringing together a plan for play areas in Spennymoor and outlining parishes. Our group have requested provision for disabled and adult play equipment in the past that has previously not been supported, so we are pleased to see that the play area scheme includes such facilities.
We would have preferred this report to have been delayed until after local elections to enable all new members to have input and take ownership of the projects, particularly in view of the considerable cost of circa £260,000 and responsibility to ensure the project remains on budget, but have been advised that this was not possible.
During a meeting today when we have had opportunity to view the play area plans and offer input, we have been assured there is flexibility within the proposed schemes to allow further consideration of local issues where further consultation may be required. In particular Clyde Terrace play area initially planned for year 2 and brought forward to August 2017 has drainage issues that needs to be resolved and consideration needs to be given to lighting in this area, given its location between two allotment sites.
Also discussed today is the need to commit to a maintenance program for this new equipment to ensure that the new play areas adhere to the terms of the play provider’s, 25 year, 15 year and 10 year guarantees and we ask that a cost for this be put into the budget plan.
Given the aforementioned officer assurances provided today we can support the recommendation to work with Applicant A to produce play area schemes that will benefit both children and adults within our Township. We would further ask to view the contract before this is sent to Applicant A.”