MP’s West Hill ‘big society’ challenge over play park

Hugo Swire’s call as proposed play park in limbo at Government cuts loom

WEST Hill residents have been challenged to be a “perfect example” of Prime Minister Davis Cameron’s big society vision- if hopes of a play park for youngsters are crushed by Government cash cuts.

MP Hugo Swire vowed to lobby Westminster as plans for the proposed facility hang in the balance, but warned villagers could have to “put their money where there mouths are”.

Visiting West Hill last Friday, Conservative Mr Swire laid down the gauntlet for residents to take on a major fundraising challenge if the worst does happen.

Driving forces behind the �26,000 project, earmarked for land behind the village hall, are nervously waiting to hear if it has fallen victim to Government cutbacks.

Mr Swire told the Herald: “Of course I’m lobbying Michael Gove (Education Secretary) and I shall continue to do so. At the same time we have to think that if we can’t get the money, could the community pull together to achieve it?

“It is a priority to sort out the economy and we have to clamp down on expenditure.

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“We’ve got to get out of the mindset that Government can provide everything. This could be a perfect example of the big society. I am convinced we can achieve this ourselves.”

After being told everyone in the village was waiting for the park, Mr Swire said: “Let’s see if they put there money where their mouths are- if it comes to it.”

He added the park was a “great idea” and would be a community asset.

West Hill Play Park Working Group member and district councillor Ray Bloxham said the group was positive, and committed to finding a way forward.

“It’s very gratifying our MP is solidly behind the project, and recognises West Hill doesn’t have any play provision and desperately needs it,” he said.