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Last Updated: Sunday, 14 January 2007, 09:20 GMT
Questions over playground removal
Playground rocking horse
Some equipment was removed on health and safety grounds
Calls have been made for playground equipment removed from Cardiff playgrounds on health and safety grounds to be replaced within months.

Labour councillors want answers from Liberal Democrat-run Cardiff Council on equipment taken from over 25 parks.

Labour said while it was right to move unsafe equipment, new playthings should be in place by the summer holidays.

Council leaders said the "vast majority" would be replaced, but it could not all be done immediately.

Labour councillor Sophie Howe, a mother-of-three said: "Children across the city have been devastated by the loss of their much-loved play areas.

"In some cases all of the equipment has been removed, leaving a derelict park and in others certain pieces of equipment have been taken leaving only a few items for children to play on.

"Play areas make a huge contribution to the community not just as places for children to play but also as places where they use up their endless energy and where their parents can meet up with other mums and dads.

Swings
This is not a 'we can do this tomorrow' process
Cardiff Council

"The removal of this equipment is hitting the heart of the community and leaving parents and children with nowhere to go."

Labour councillors have put forward a notice of motion at the council meeting on 25 January for all the equipment to replaced by July.

'Significant investment'

A council spokesman said plans to replace some equipment by the end of March was already in place for five play areas in the city: Roath Park, Parc Caedelyn, Quarry Hill in Rumney, Whitchurch Library Gardens and Pentyrch.

He said the council recognised the importance of children's play, and made significant investment.

"Inevitably, pieces of equipment reach the end of their useful life and must be replaced," he said.

"The process for doing so requires a consideration of the most suitable piece of new equipment to install as the age profile of children in an area may have changed since the initial installation.

"Once decisions and funding are in place the play area layout may need to be re-designed, then equipment ordered, delivered and installed - this is not a 'we can do this tomorrow' process.

"The impatience of residents and members however is understandable while these processes are followed. We believe though that in the majority of cases the eventual outcome justifies the wait.

"Over the current and next financial years 760, 000 has been identified and will be available for replacement equipment. However, as explained, this takes time to do.

"While a minority of replacements do not have identified funding here and now, this situation changes as the year goes by," he added.


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