COUNCILLORS thought again on plans to convert a children’s play area into allotments after a campaign by residents.

Witney Town Council was looking to close the facility in Park Road, off Tower Hall, but on Monday night changed its mind.

The scheme would have created about 10 allotments, helping to cut the town’s current waiting list of 111 people.

But now, following a campaign by Park Road residents, the council plans to consult on keeping and potentially improving the play area.

Councillors were addressed by residents at a meeting of the leisure and recreation committee on Monday night.

They were presented with a petition signed by more than 200 people and were told 82 per cent of Park Road residents did not know about the allotments plan.

Town council facilities manager Claire Swan said turning the play area into allotments was “one possible scenario” the council was considering.

She said the equipment was about 30 years old and in a “pretty awful” condition, and had been a magnet for antisocial behaviour.

Councillors had agreed to close the Park Road play area due to safety issues and remove the equipment at a meeting in November last year.

But on Monday night councillor Chrissie Curry said: “Personally, I would prefer to see it as a park.”

Councillor Pete Dorward said: “I am pleased to see it has engendered community spirit. I hope it is retained as a park and hope it is brought back into full use.”

Councillor Duncan Enright said: “The clue is in the name – Park Road.”

The committee was told the recent refurbishment of a children’s play area in Wood Green had cost the town council about £50,000.

Councillors agreed to change the wording of recommendations so that, instead of consulting on allotments, the council would consult on retaining the park.

Park Road resident Lesley Senter, 44, said: “I was quite pleased actually. I expected a no, but what they said was quite positive. Obviously we have a lot of hard work ahead of us to try and keep this on track, but hopefully the outcome will be good.

“If the park had closed I would have felt I could not let my children out the front because it would be dangerous. Cars come around very fast.”

But Mrs Senter, a mum-of-eight, added: “We were very disappointed that we were not consulted. If we had not looked into it we would only have found out when they came and started taking everything away.”

She said residents had only learnt about the plan after approaching the council to investigate making improvements to the park.

Witney Allotments Association chairman Andy Howell said: “We welcome whatever initiative the council has to try to secure further land to reduce the waiting list for allotments.

“But we certainly would not want that at the expense of local amenity for people.”