Sunday, May 11, 2008

Bringing Life back to the Denes

Mayor Marian Swift (top) and the new climbing tower and slide in the Denes (below).
Campaigning in the Denes last year, a number of residents told me that they were concerned about the state of the Denes. (For those of you who don’t know Darlington, the Denes is a green valley divided by the Cocker Beck which runs for over two miles from central Darlington over to the Cockerton in the west).

Security and lack of play provision were two of the commonest complaints.

In fact, work was already underway to transform matters. CCTV cameras have been installed in two places. And as Cabinet Member now for Health and Leisure, I’ve been monitoring progress on the design of a new large play area, which was opened by the Mayor and local ward councillor Marian Swift on Saturday.

Pardon the vernacular, but it’s a bit of a stonker. Costing £170,000, the equipment is designed for children of all ages, and includes a zip line.

I took AJ along – I like the fact that the enormous climbing tower and slide, which was fine for children aged up to 11, was also very accessible for AJ aged 6. The swinging disc (in the background in the first picture, top right) looks certain to be a winner with older children. There's a good amount of space for kids to run around - it should help to prevent little ones in particular getting bumped over accidentally.

The whole area was heaving with families. The play area is a testimony to the Friends of the Denes, who helped with the design, chaired by local Pierremont councillor and Cabinet colleague Steve Harker.

(I should also mention the crucial role being played by Groundwork (of which I’m a Board Member) who facilitated the community involvement and brought the project to fruition).

There are some finishing touches on the way - a giant slide that will take children from the top of the bank at the bottom of Greenbank Road and deposit them in the play area. Benches for parents to sit and watch are planned too.

All-in-all, another practical example of the Council's significant investment in play for children, and our successful partnership work too.

1 comment:

Ian White, said...

Looking good Nick, I just hope the yobs dont ruin it and have it destroyed in a week once again spoiling ti for everyone!