"Too bright" Corinium Via playground victory for Cirencester children
4:41pm Saturday 23rd February 2013 in News
A PROTEST by parents and children at a Cotswold playground turned into a victory celebration today when developers scrapped plans to repaint and relocate “too bright” equipment.
The half-acre park at Cirencester's Corinium Via housing development has remained closed and guarded by high wire fences for more than a year after a handful of residents living near to the playground objected to the bright primary colours of the climbing frames, swings and slides.
Developers, Redrow Homes, recently put forward a new scheme to Cotswold District Council to camouflage the equipment with dark blue and green paint and move it away from the houses, closer to the busy Burford Road.
CDC backed a decision by Redrow not to consult the owners of 270 other homes on the estate, leading to a furious backlash from parents and children when the news of the "secret deal" finally leaked out.
But today, a local eight-year-old girl had the pleasure of announcing that the playground would soon be opened without change.
The climbdown came after a hastily formed action group launched separate petitions for adults and children which gained widespread support.
The news was announced to the packed meeting by tiny campaigner Ruby Barrio, who revealed that Redrow's Technical Director, Gavin Hill, had sent an email yesterday confirming that the playground would open before Easter without any changes.
Her grandfather, Declan Cunningham, said: "We were shocked to discover that the developer proposed making drastic changes without public consultation.
"What has most impressed everyone here is the enthusiastic way the children threw themselves into the playground campaign by going around collecting signatures for the petition.
"They have learned a valuable lesson that democracy does work though you occasionally have to fight for it."
He added: "This was Ninbyism at its very worst and it is a sad reflection on the Cotswolds where nobody is prepared to accept that we live on a small island where people need homes and recreation for themselves and their children. We have to accept that the rights of the majority may impact upon our own lives whether we like it or or not."
In his email, Mr Hill said the unpopular proposed changes to the playground would have cost more than £16,000.
"I am sure you will understand Redrow’s frustration with how matters have developed. The expression ‘between a rock and a hard place' springs to mind.
"To summarise, the district council have confirmed that two play area schemes are approved; the original scheme and the amended scheme which was approved earlier this month.
As you are aware the latter included amendments requested by the District and Town Councils and would cost Redrow and Robert Hitchins Ltd in excess of £16,000 to implement. Were we to do so however, we now fear it would be even less popular than the original scheme.
"I therefore confirm that we will complete the original approved scheme and open the public open space prior to the Easter holiday."
The playground campaign group is now urging Redrow to spend its £16,000 windfall on improvements recently suggested by council planners to enhance playground access for children with disabilities.