Leyland playground "contamination" discovery delays planned upgrade

Plans to revamp a rundown play area in Leyland have been put on hold after the site was found to be contaminated.

Friday, 13th November 2020, 6:17 pm
Updated Friday, 13th November 2020, 11:52 pm

No details have been released about the nature of the problem at the playground on Bent Lane, but the Local Democracy Reporting Service understands that remediation work will be needed before the project can begin.

The facility - and the wider park area in which it sits - remain open.

It is the latest setback for a site known locally as Strawberry Valley, which residents have been trying to rejuvenate for over two years.

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The main piece of play equipment left in the playground on Bent Lane

The plot was briefly proposed for development, but last year, South Ribble Borough Council committed to upgrading the play park and installing new equipment to replace the current offering of a single tyre swing and some basketball hoops. A nature garden is also planned.

Jo Hindle-Taylor, from Strawberry Valley Park Supporters Group, says that the latest delay is dispiriting - but she hopes it will be the last.

“We’ve had our share of problems that have held things up - from potential development to Covid and now contamination.

“But they say these things come in threes, so hopefully this is the final issue.

Strawberry Valley Park

“The kids in this area really need somewhere to play out - whereas at the moment, they end up queuing for a turn on the swing.

“And it’s not just for youngsters, because all residents will benefit from the garden.

“It brought it home to me how long this has dragged on when I heard that a lady who used to donate bulbs for our planting project - and was really looking forward to seeing the work completed - had sadly passed away,” Jo said.

The council has allocated £68,000 for the overhaul - one of several playgrounds being spruced up across the borough - but is also now awaiting details of the cost of any clean-up work.

Cllr Sue Jones, cabinet member for the environment, said: “We know the local community is keen to see work on the new playground progress, as we are, and I want to reassure everyone the plans we have spoken about will get delivered.

“As with all developments like this. we have done some initial site investigation work and we found some contamination beneath the surface that needs some remediation work. This has meant there have been some delays, but they haven’t been of our making and we are on with getting this sorted as quickly as we can.”

Cllr Jones is also the ward councillor for the area and, before becoming part of the Labour administration at South Ribble last year, campaigned with her late husband and fellow councillor Ken Jones to prevent the area being developed.