OUTRAGED parents have hit out over a “backroom” deal to make major changes to a Cirencester playground which was sealed off for being too bright.
Last week the Standard broke the national story that a play area at the Corinium Via estate in Kingshill had been fenced off since last summer because a small number of residents had complained about its size and colour.
Now developer Redrow has confirmed it plans to open the playground by the end of next month.
On Monday, Cotswold District Council agreed to changes set out by developer. Colourful play equipment will be repainted in “muted” dark blues and greens and relocated away from homes and packed in nearer to the Burford Road.
Picnic tables will also be replaced with benches to deter families from making outings to the park and from parking nearby.
While many local parents and children are keen to see the metal barriers removed, many are angry that the views of just nine complaining residents, out of around 300 homes at the estate, have caused the delayed opening and now transformation of the play area.
Grandparent Declan Cunningham, who lives at Corinium Via, said he was disgusted by the “complete lack of consultation” by either Redrow or CDC.
“This is hardly democratic and both the developer and the council need to account for what looks like an expedient, back-room stitch-up.
"It is clear that owners of houses directly overlooking the park do not want the playground there at all and, to placate them, Redrow and CDC are happy to push the children to the margins of the open space. In fact, if they pushed them any further, they would be in the carriageway."
Mr Cunningham, whose 8-year-old granddaughter lives a short walk from the park, added: "She was only six when she moved here and spent all of the summer holidays last year gazing longingly through the high wire fence separating her from the play equipment."
CDC’s Bob McNally said the council has been in discussion with a group of residents and the developer since initial complaints were raise in July last year.
“When people complain about various things we’re not obliged to consult everybody, we’re obliged to address those concerns,” he said. “We’re trying our best to please both parties.”
It was agreed that the colour scheme and one play item were not in line with the original planning agreement and should be changed.
Gavin Hill, Technical Director for Redrow Homes, said: "In response to complaints, Redrow has agreed with residents and Cotswold District Council to adjust the colour of the equipment and move a few play items further away from dwellings.”
Compare the plans here.