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Developers foot bill to bring back playground

Worcester Editorial 25th Apr, 2014 Updated: 19th Oct, 2016

A POPULAR play area which was forced to close last year after it fell into disrepair is set to return as part of an £912,000 project to revitalise parts of Diglis.

Members of Worcester City Council’s cabinet gave the green light to plans to revamp Diglis Playing Fields, Cherry Orchard Nature Reserve and the riverside area at a meeting last Tuesday (April 15).

The Diglis Realm Project, which will get under way later this year, has been made possible thanks to planning money from five developers who have built hundreds of homes in the area in recent years.

Coun Lynn Denham, councillor for the area, welcomed the scheme, which will see the children’s play area off Waverley Street re-installed as well as footpath improvements and new boundary facing put in place.

However, she said she was disappointed money had not been pumped into Diglis prior to when the Labour-led coalition took control of the council last year.

“I remember asking a question in full council in February last year about the availability of section 106 funds and I was told there was £130,000, full stop,”

Coun Denham said. “But we now know there was about half a million pounds in the city council’s kitty as a result of developments that had taken place in Diglis.

“We know that some of these funds go back to 2004 and in fact would have been lost if they were not spent, so I am really pleased that we are going to be able to carry this forward.

“But I have also got to say that I am appalled that the previous administration allowed a tiny children’s playground in Diglis Fields to deteriorate to a point where it had to be closed as unsafe last year. You could almost say that a generation of children could have missed out due to this.”

The money will also be used to construct an outdoor gym and increase the number of entrances to Diglis Playing Fields, while the council plans to work with the Canal & River Trust and Worcestershire County Council to create an attractive riverside environment.

Coun Matthew Lamb, cabinet member for Cleaner and Greener, added: “I think this a very exciting project as it will further enhance the green spaces of the city which we are already really proud of. I also think it will complement our bid to become the City of Culture 2021.”

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