Anger as Flintshire town’s play areas miss out on upgrade cash

Reporter:

Hayley Collins

COMMUNITY leaders are furious after being told match funding to upgrade play areas was no longer available.

Mold Town Council was approached by Flintshire Council with an offer for inclusion in the match funding scheme for 2011/12.

Councillors quickly responded and expressed an interest in being included in the project.

But Flintshire Council has now sent a letter to town clerk Fred Boneham explaining that due to “oversubscription” the town council can no longer be included in the scheme.

Cllr Andrea Mearns said: “When we put in for match funding there was nothing to suggest there was any form of lottery or selection process.”

The news is particularly crushing for the town council after a recent survey of Flintshire’s 172 play areas revealed that two of Mold’s were in the ‘red’ zone.

Along with 11 other play areas across the county, both the Gas Lane and Bailey Hill sites were identified as being ‘red’ – meaning they require substantial work to bring them up to scratch.

Cllr Robin Guest said: “We have got two of the 13 in the red zone and we can’t get the match funding – it’s crazy.”

Council chiefs have also asked Mold Town Council to identify all equipment in the town’s play area as part of their county-wide review of play areas, but defiant councillors say there is no point.

Cllr Bryan Grew said: “They are asking us to do a review of play areas, but what’s the point - there’s no money anyway.”

Councillors agreed to write to Flintshire Council with their concerns.

A spokesman for Flintshire Council said: “Eighteen town and community councils repsonded seeking match funding for schemes in 2011/12. Flintshire County Council had a limited fund of £55k available.

“A report went to the council’s executive on December 14, 2010, recommending 10 schemes for match funding. Unfortunately there was insufficient funds to meet all the applications submitted.

“However, it is hoped that, subject to budgetary considerations, a further round of match-funding may be available for the financial year 2012/13.”

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