'Decide future of play areas'

Oxford Mail: Duncan Hatfield with mums and children in Mortimer Hall Park Duncan Hatfield with mums and children in Mortimer Hall Park

A community is being called on to help come up with ideas and designs for its local play areas.

Old Marston Parish Council has launched a consultation process with residents to see what they want from play areas in their part of Oxford.

The parish council plans to spend about £60,000 over the next year upgrading Mortimer Hall Park, on the corner of Oxford Road and Marston Ferry Road, before turning its attention to the play area in Boults Lane.

Parish council play committee chairman Duncan Hatfield said he would consult as many people as possible for the project.

He said: "We want to make the play areas really fun places for the children to go and enjoy, so we are listening to all the ideas at this stage.

"We have already produced some surveys which we have taken into St Nicholas Primary School and Cherwell School for pupils to look at.

"A couple of things have already come out of this. The children would like to keep the swings in the Mortimer Hall play area, even though they are quite old fashioned.

"Another suggestion is for a zip wire. It's been a really popular idea, so we are looking into that."

Paula Coombs, 38, whose two children Zoe, six, and Amy, nine, use Mortimer Hall Park, agreed to join a newly-formed play committee to help improve the area.

Mrs Coombs, of Beechey Avenue, Marston, said: "It makes sense to ask people who use the park and live in the area what they think.

"The Mortimer Hall play area is very well used by people in this area, but it's looking a bit sad and needs some love."

Mr Hatfield said consultation would continue for the next month, after which the council hoped to hold an exhibition.

He added: "People will be able to walk in and give us their comments on what we have done before we take it to the next stage."

The Boults Lane play area is a longer term project involving the development of the recreation ground's new pavilion.

Mr Hatfield added: "We want to tie the two projects together, so we have to wait to get planning permission sorted out before we can start on the play area."

Funding for the projects will come from the parish council's coffers, though applications would also be made for grants to cover costs of up to £60,000 per play area.

For more information, and to comment on the future of the play areas in Old Marston, go to oldmarston-pc.gov.uk/play

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