Families shocked to find out their playground has been ‘demolished’
Families in the seaside town of Rhyl have slammed Denbighshire County Council for the “shameful” lack of consultation before their local playground was destroyed to make way for flood defences.
The Guardian reports that families have accused developer Balfour Beatty and the council of ignoring the needs of local children in one of north Wales’s most deprived towns.
The popular Drift Park playground is in the poorest ward in Wales and was removed to make way for a £92m flood defence project.
It appears that no warning was given to locals but a consultation was carried out with global engineering consultants Mott MacDonald.
A parent named Rose said: “I didn’t know it was going until I walked past and it was gone. It’s a huge blow for families to have lost this play area.
It was modern and had something for everyone. The other play areas in Rhyl are very neglected.”
Another parent named Lauren said she uses the playground regularly and only found out on Facebook that it had been taken down.
Jade, a mother of two who doesn’t drive said: “I live in Rhyl and struggle with daily life. One of the things I enjoyed with my children and that gave us bonding time was going to Drift Park and now they’ve demolished it.”
Dr Steele, a Rhyl campaigner said: “Communication has been woeful. None of the planning drawings show the playground being removed, and a leaflet that Mott MacDonald put through the very nearest houses to the construction site did not mention the playground going either.”
In an email seen by the Guardian, a senior Denbighshire council official said that consulting the public would result in “raised expectations”.
Residents want the playground relocated but the council said it had evaluated the possibility of moving it to other local spaces but that none were suitable.
In response to The Guardian’s article, Denbighshire County Council said: “Closing the Drift Park play area was necessary as the construction work on the Central Rhyl Coastal Defence Scheme is too close to the park to be able to keep it open safely.
“It is also required to allow for construction access to the promenade from the road to undertake the works. Unfortunately, it is necessary to remove the play area in order to deliver this vital flood defence scheme which will protect more than 600 properties in the town from the risk of coastal flooding.
“The Council evaluated alternative sites for temporarily relocating the play area but unfortunately it was not possible to identify an appropriate site nearby. There are currently three other play areas in close proximity to the Drift Park.
“Vaughan Street play area is approximately 300m away, John Street play area is approximately 220m away and the Marine Lake play area is approximately 700m away. In addition, Rhyl has one of the biggest and best beaches in Wales as an additional space for recreation.
“In terms of replacing the play area, the contractual agreement with Balfour Beatty is to install a like-with-like play area on completion of the flood works. However, the Council hopes to identify additional funding in order to construct an improved, fully accessible play area once the construction work is completed.
“The Council is currently exploring options for this and obtaining initial design ideas. The project will be developed in partnership with the local community, and we will be engaging with local children about what they would like the new play area to look like.
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.