At last night’s parish council meeting (Monday), chairman Coun Jan Palmer announced: “We are busy putting in the new play park on the playing field and have received far more positive comments excited about the new facilities.
“Work is expected to be completed within a couple of weeks if all goes smoothly, ready for the nicer weather.”
The council selected a design for a new children’s play area at the Howell Road playing field in front of the pavilion, next to the new adult exercise equipment, back in March 2018.
Parish councillors had carried out a full feasibility study into the upgrade as the old play area safety surface and equipment was in need of replacement and would not pass future inspections.
After failing to secure outside grants, the council agreed in January to spend £62,000 of its own savings to carry out the work.
Coun Palmer explained at the meeting: “We have saved those reserves up for some time.
“We were trying to get external funding towards replacing the play park, but it seems to be drying up everywhere.”
She added: “The present play park is an embarrassment, it is on its last legs. We got through the safety inspection by the skin of our teeth and this new design would be fairly maintenance-free for the first few years.”
The new play park is slightly bigger than the existing one and has been moved to land in front of the pavilion to avoid conflict with cars travelling in and out of the car park. The old play area will be removed and scrapped to make more parking space for parents driving in and out to drop children off at the neighbouring school, while the access drive was also to be widened to make it safer for those on foot with vehicles passing.
The new play park will have high fencing to protect from stray balls.
At last night’s meeting, some residents urged the parish council to use Facebook to better inform a wider number of its parishioners about such things as the new play park plans, as many may not see the council noticeboards or attend meetings.
Councillors said they used to have a council Facebook page but closed it down after receiving too much abuse, but residents insisted it was not a matter of rejecting old methods of communicating, but more about informing the widest number of people about decision making for greater community input and support.
One woman said: “I have run a business for six years and Facebook works, but it does have a negative side. Personal comments can be moderated and taken out. Social media is a good thing to have. If the whole village turned up for your monthly meetings you would not be able to accommodate them anyway.”
The council agreed it would investigate the feasibility of promoting more of its business via Facebook. It already posts some of its information via the Heckington village Facebook page.