Taking on another Sidmouth play park would be a liability, say town council

Manstone play park plans. Picture: East Devon District Council

Manstone play park plans. Picture: East Devon District Council - Credit: Archant

Taking on another Sidmouth play park, from East Devon District Council (EDDC), would not be an ‘asset’ for the town but a ‘liability’.

Stowford Rise park park plans. Picture: East Devon District Council

Stowford Rise park park plans. Picture: East Devon District Council - Credit: Archant

Those are the words of town councillors after they were asked their position on adopting the new play area at Stowford Rise.

At the latest Sidmouth Town Council (STC) meeting on Monday, the local authority agreed to take on the new Manstone play park as it already owned the youth centre and the land around it.

But when asked if they would do the same for the park at Stowford, councillors agreed that the move would be of no benefit to the town.

Councillor Ian Barlow said: “I love the idea of taking on assets but I do not classify this as an asset.

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“I think we should be very careful. I thought it was a real kicking that Exmouth got a skatepark for free just because they haven’t bothered to pay anything towards it. We paid for ours but we have to pay for it forever then. Before we take it on perhaps they should be giving us something that would bring something in.

“Don’t think of this as an asset, it is just a liability.

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“We took on the youth centre for one reason. All the youth centres were being shut in the area and that was important we took it on. What is the advantage of taking it on?

“It may be that in the future we could have a negotiation where there is something we want and we can say ‘we will take on your liabilities but give us an asset at the same time’ - a bit more business rather than just saying ‘we will take on all your rubbish and all the expense’ - of course they want to give it to us, it costs them money.”

Cllr Paul Wright agreed, adding: “As tax payers we are paying twice - we are paying to have Exmouth’s play parks enhanced through council tax and we are paying for our own in Sidmouth again.”

Last week the Herald reported that a total of £30,000 would be spent on the Manstone play park - £15,000 of which came from EDDC, £10,000 for the Keith Owen Fund (KOF) and £5,000 from STC. EDDC has also given £55,000 for the Stowford Rise park, at the end of Le Locle Close. The town council voted to defer their decision on whether they would take on the Stowford play park, pending discussions with EDDC.

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