Fight begins to replace demolished play park at Par Beach
LOCALS are fighting back after a children's play area was snatched away "almost overnight" by Cornwall Council.
As part of cost-cutting measures earlier this year, Cornwall Council took away the children's play equipment at Par Beach.
The play area was next to the old café, and where the new café is due to be built next year.
John Page, who is the events co-ordinator for the Friends of Par Beach, said this had been done "suddenly and without consultation".
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Richard Parks, the chairman of the Friends, said: "It was overnight, almost. One day the kids were playing on the equipment and the next day it was all gone. It was done very surreptitiously.
"I think it was just because the authority didn't have the money to maintain it – but afterwards there was a bit of an uproar."
Since then, the community has taken the matter into its own hands.
Local organisations including the Friends of Par Beach, Par Community Association, Park Leisure, Par Management Group and Tywardreath and Par Parish Council have joined forces and decided to raise funds for new equipment. The parish council is also in discussions about taking ownership of the playground.
Mr Parks said they intended to use wooden equipment in the new play area, as it was natural, long-lasting and low-maintenance.
There was even talk of outdoor exercise equipment being installed nearby.
On Saturday, August 24, a family fun day and consultation event will be held on and around the site of the removed children's playground.
This will aim to gather the community's views about what it would like to see replacing it.
"We're giving it back to the people and the kids, to see what they'd like," said Mr Parks. "We want to make the event fun, so it'll include a bouncy castle, ball pool, face-painting and ice cream to entertain the children, while parents give their feedback."
In response, a Cornwall Council spokesman said an inspection had been carried out at all 223 playgrounds it managed, including those at Par Beach and Polmear Parc, to ensure that they were safe and fit for purpose.
If they could not be repaired economically, they were closed. This was the case at Par.
"Once decommissioned, the sites at Par Beach and Polmear Parc will no longer be considered or inspected as equipped playgrounds, but will revert to ordinary open space," he said. "However, the council has no intention of changing the use of the land and it is intended these areas will remain as green space.
"The council fully understands the importance of formal play to local communities. The removal of play equipment is always seen as a last resort by the team."