Parents 'saddened' by £40,000 improvements at Haslam Park play area

Parents in Ashton have been left scratching their heads at recent improvements made to Haslam Park after more than £40,000 was spent on giving its play area a facelift.

By James Holt
Friday, 14th May 2021, 3:56 pm

Preston City Council closed the park in November last year for a major overhaul that was set to see the children's play area have its waterlogged ground drained and new play equipment installed.

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Mum-of-two Lorna Connors from Ashton, was among those who had waited months for the park to finally reopen for her young children to enjoy.

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Locals were disappointed by the upgrades made to the park

Having worked through a challenging year as an NHS analyst, Lorna told the Post she was "excited to spend time with her children after lockdown".

She said: "The closure of the park came at a bad time, it was shut for months when our children wanted to go out and play because everything was closed.

"When we visited the park, my three-year-old said he didn't know what the difference was. I feel like the council might as well have not bothered with it because they have done such a poor job of it.

"We expected so much more from it. There are puddles and mud everywhere and it is not suitable for my children. It is sad as a parent that it is not being looked after and local parents of young children have just not been considered.

Mum-of-two Lorna said her three-year-old daughter didn't notice a difference once £40,000 had been spent on it

"It looks such a mess, they haven't cleaned or power washed any of the old equipment and it is so disappointing. All I want is for parents to be consulted into what happens next for the park so we aren't forced to drive to nicer parks in South Ribble.

"I care about where I live and the environment for my children and want somewhere nice for them to play within walking distance. I think we need to know where all the money has been spent on this park."

The park was shut off by the council on November 16 of last year, with the council vowing to drain and replace the ground surface, as well as install a new space net, a double bump slide, a nest swing and a mini-trampoline.

Some of the existing items were also due to be given a refurbishment during its expected three-week closure.

The ground remains muddy on the park

The project was developed by Preston City Council and Friends of Haslam Park. The work was mainly made possible through a grant from the Lancashire Environmental Fund, but also from; Preston City Council, The Harris Trust, and fundraising by Friends of Haslam Park.

But months later, parents say they have been left questioning how the £44,203.05 was spent.

And when Ashton Mum Lorna Connors submitted a Freedom of Information request to the Council, the council failed to provide a breakdown of the equipment costs.

Parents took to social media to give their thoughts on the refurbishment, with one reading: "I go south Ribble now, all the parks there are beautiful."

Parents also made complaints about the state of other equipment on the park

Another commented: "That’s not a good advert for 'the Preston model' if keeping it local means overpriced and poor quality workmanship.

"There is no way that amount of money has been spent on the playground. This needs serious investigation. Absolute joke."

The Post has contacted Preston City Council for a comment.

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