Tipton Play Field needs £50k to replace rotting equipment

David Birch and David Boyle with year one children from Tipton Primary School at the play area. Ref

David Birch and David Boyle with year one children from Tipton Primary School at the play area. Ref shs 02 18TI 4313. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

An ‘urgent’ need for funds to kick-start a £50,000 campaign to redevelop Tipton St John’s play area has gained the support of town councillors.

The Tipton St John Playing Field Association committee spoke at Ottery Town Council this week seeking a financial contribution to replace the site’s old equipment.

Treasurer David Boyle asked if the village could benefit from ‘Section 106’ money – a levy paid by developers – or from a council grant.

The council supported the play park’s last refurbishment in 1994, paying a third of the £37,000 cost.

On Monday, Mr Boyle said the committee estimates it will cost more than £50,000 this time around.

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He told the meeting: “Tipton is well respected for its self-sufficiency for raising money to maintain the community-owned assets of the playing field and village hall, but there is a limit of how much we can ourselves raise as we are a small village.

“It’s very difficult now to do repairs and keep it serviceable because so much of the equipment has rotted because it is 24 years old. You can only do so much. One play area item needs urgent attention, the others are very close to the end of their life. Within five years we would be struggling to keep all of the units safe.”

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Mr Boyle said the toddler multi-play unit had been ‘virtually condemned’ in the last safety inspection and would cost around £10,000 to replace or have to be closed.

Mr Boyle added: “Closure of this unit is unfortunately an option being considered at the present time.

“Funds are urgently needed so that we can avoid shutting the play area temporarily, which is what happened, unfortunately, prior to 1994 because sufficient funds were not forthcoming to enable the project to start.”

The committee also finances repair works to the eroding riverbank and has spent £7,000 over the past four years. More works are expected this year.

The town council agreed to consider allocating some of its 2018/19 budget to the project, as well as trying to secure Parishes Together funding.

Councillor Roger Giles said; “I have every sympathy and I hope we will be able to help them in some way by coming up with some funding. Tipton is very unusual, as most of the play areas around East Devon are owned and maintained and equipped by the district council. It has always been a group of citizens who, admirably, have looked after it.”

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