Agenda item

Strategic Play Area Development Plan

That the Committee -

 

1.      note the contents of this report and in particular the current available information on identified needs for outdoor play provision, funding opportunities and constraints;

2.      approves the engagement of a specialist contractor to undertake a detailed consultation exercise around future outdoor play space provision across the city and from that consultation, develop proposals for a Strategic Play Area Development Plan to be brought back to Committee in October 2022 for approval;

3.      delegates authority to the Corporate Director - Operations, Homes and Communities - in consultation with the Chair and Vice Chair of the Place and Economic Development Committee to procure and appoint a suitable contractor as set out in 1.2 above;

4.      recommends to Policy and Resources Committee the allocation of £40,000 for this work; and

5.      concurrent with the work set out above, supports the identification of potential city centre locations for investment in youth play provision, with detailed proposals to be brought back to Members for consideration.

 

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report on a proposal to develop a Worcester City Strategic Play Area Development Plan.  The following appendices were attached to the report – Appendix 1 total children’s and youth play provision by Ward; Appendix 2 map of play provision categorised as toddler, junior or youth and Appendix 3 map of Worcester City Council owned play areas and those owned by other organisations and broke down and categorised further into children or youth.

 

The Corporate Director – Planning and Governance presented the report and informed Committee Members that the Council does not at the present time have a strategic plan which guides the Council’s investment decisions around outdoor play area provision.

 

Members had requested that consideration be given to the development of a strategic plan and it is noted that play provision is an agreed priority in the newly revised Worcester City Plan 2022-2027.  An officer working group had convened and their findings and recommendations were set out in paragraphs 2.5-2.26 of the report.

 

The preferred option is to produce a Strategic Play Area Development Plan and the aims of the plan were highlighted in paragraph 3.3 of the report.  In order to develop the Plan, officers stated that it would be essential to undertake an engagement and consultation exercise by a specialist contractor.  Committee Members were informed that there would be an opportunity for the Children and Young People’s Champion to raise the profile of the project and the consultation. 

 

It is anticipated that the proposed Strategic Play Area Development Plan would be bought to Committee for approval in October.  Emphasis was made on the basis that the plan would aim to enhance, and not reduce, current level of provision.  The preferred option was to also progress site feasibility for city centre play provision which would be subject for further Member approval.

 

The Corporate Director – Planning and Governance and the Head of Planning responded to questions from Committee Members on elements of the S106 contributions, specific budget allocation for play related proposals and the need to look at demographics as some areas in greater need than others.  It was noted that residents do not necessarily recognise ward boundaries and that the open space assessment, which was established to deal with new developments, would look at in terms of prioritisation.

 

Committee Members welcomed the report.

 

RESOLVED: That the Committee:

 

1.      note the contents of the report and in particular the current available information on identified needs for outdoor play provision, funding opportunities and constraints;

2.      approve the engagement of a specialist contractor to undertake a detailed consultation exercise around future outdoor play space provision across the city and from that consultation, develop proposals for a Strategic Play Area Development Plan to be brought back to Committee in October 2022 for approval;

3.      delegate authority to the Corporate Director - Operations, Homes and Communities - in consultation with the Chair and Vice Chair of the Place and Economic Development Committee to procure and appoint a suitable contractor as set out in 2 above;

4.      recommend to Policy and Resources Committee the allocation of £40,000 for this work; and

5.      concurrent with the work set out above, supports the identification of potential city centre locations for investment in youth play provision, with detailed proposals to be brought back to Members for consideration.

Supporting documents: