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MUGA ‘mistake’ goes ahead

Posted on June 18 2008 at 4:00:25

Work starts on MUGA

Work has started on the installation of £90,000 of play equipment on Swans Length, Alvechurch, despite a heated public meeting where residents urged councillors to think again.

The Bromsgrove District Council project includes a Multi Use Games Arena – or MUGA – costing £50,000 and a “risky play area”.

The type of equipment and its location was decided on after consultation first with youngsters and then with residents.

A meeting was called at the Village Hall to explain what was hapenning and drew around 50 people, mainly residents living on Birmingham Road, which backs on to the field, and The Becks, which is on the other side.

District council leader Roger Hollingworth, who was chairing the meeting, told them: “It was a year last February when residents came to a PACT meeting and complained about antisocial behaviour, so we asked the children what they wanted.”

The council then asked the residents where they wanted the equipment, and a survey “indicated they wanted it on Swans Length”.

Bromsgrove leisure officer John Godwin told the meeting that where MUGAs had been installed elsewhere in the district there had been a 10 per cent fall in antisocial behaviour.

But the residents remained concerned, claiming that a skateboard “half pipe” on the same site had attracted troublemakers.

Resident Joyce Colledge said: “That skatepark came down within a fortnight. Will you not learn from history? Why would you make the same mistake?”

But Coun Hollingworth said a lot of things had changed in the village “since those days”.

Another resident, Chris Bourne, said: “You are going to encourage vandals to spend time in my back garden.”

Bromsgrove hopes the equipment will be ready for use by the summer holidays.

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