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£90,000 to spend, but still no site for play area

Posted on November 22 2007 at 11:11:27

The community group planning to spend £90,000 on youth activity facilities in Alvechurch has decided what to build – but now doesn’t know where to put it.

After a consultation exercise with children and teenagers, they have settled on spending the bulk of the money on a Multi-Use Games Arena, or MUGA.

This is a “caged” sports area with football goals and basketball hoops and, at £55,000, would also include a shelter.

Alvechurch Neighbourhood Group heard that the previously suggested skatepark might only suit a few people and might not be used if fashions changed.

The group decided to spend the rest of the money on climbing and adventure facilities. But what many felt had been the Alvechurch Neighbourhood Group’s preferred site for the development, the Meadows, has been all but ruled out because of access problems.

John Godwin, acting head of Culture & Community Services at Bromsgrove District Council, told the group that it could cost as much as £15,000 just to create a temporary access to the Meadows to allow the MUGA to be built.

He said his preferred option was Swan’s Length playing field – between The Becks and Birmingham Road – which has good access and is already owned by the council.

Village readers may recall that this was where a £15,000 skate ramp was installed eight years ago, only for it to be hurriedly removed by the district council after residents’ complaints.

A residents’ spokeswoman, Ann Overs, told the group: “If people in the area are not happy, it will be shortlived. To put a facility where there is already a problem is asking for trouble.”

But police representative Lucy Thornton said: ”Part of the reason for anti-social behaviour is because there are not the facilities.”

Another possible site for the MUGA, previously suggested to the parish council, is on the designated public open space by the Black Path, near St Laurence Church.

This was created when five large houses were built on the paddock off School Lane.

The neighbourhood group agreed to consult further with villagers before making a decision on a site.

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