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No investors for former splash park in Belvedere

PUBLISHED: 12:40 16 February 2016 | UPDATED: 16:37 16 February 2016

Belvedere Splash Park

Belvedere Splash Park

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Council could turn area in to a play park

A former-splash park in Belvedere looks set to become a play park for children under the council’s plans.

Next Monday, cabinet members at Bexley council will consider recommendations for the site to be open all year-round.

After making the park available for businesses to take over last summer, Bexley Council decided that none of the interested parties met criteria to run the park without any cost to the local taxpayer.

An independent report discovered the council would have to pay £300,000 to get the old splash park up and running again, without considering the annual costs.

Conservative Peter Craske, cabinet member for community safety, environment and leisure is optimistic for the site’s future.

He said: “While we have been unable to keep the facility going in its present form, I have always stated that I am committed to creating a new park on this site.

“We want this new park to be something that looks to the future, with facilities complementing what is already offered locally and a park which families can use all year round.

“I invite anyone who cares about the future of this site to grab this opportunity with both hands and work together with us so we can create a park of which everyone can be proud.

Following a potential approval from the council, there will be a consultation with local people and park users.

Should the plans go through, the new-look park could be open to the public by summer 2017.

Belvedere Labour Councillor Daniel Francis however criticised the council.

He said: “Along with all Labour group councillors, I am deeply disappointed by the council’s decision to close Belvedere Splash Park. The park was hugely popular with local families who along with their local councillors, do not support the decision taken by the council.

“Unfortunately, Bexley’s Conservative councillors have shown over the last 18 months how out of touch they are with local families on this issue.

“One Conservative councillor called the park “a disaster” during a council meeting with another stating “the Splash Park’s got to go”.

“This decision would have been taken over a year ago, if it were not for the tireless work of local campaigners. I would like to place on record my thanks to all those campaigners and in particular to Ian Doherty for setting up the campaign, Rachael Thompson, Nicola Taylor and Alex Taylor for their work and in particular Faye Ockleford for her tireless work co-ordinating the campaign and the Save our Splash Park facebook page.

“While I welcome the news that the council plans to retain inclusive play facilities on the site, it is deeply disappointing that over 100 years of a water facility on this site will be brought to an end.

“I therefore welcome the assurances we have received that the council do not propose selling either of the Woolwich Road recreation grounds, and we will be holding them to account to ensure they keep their promise on this issue.

“While the council may claim this decision has been caused by lack of interest from companies to run a water facility, this is of course not the case.

“This decision is a purely ideological one taken by a Conservative council as a result of the reduction in funding from a Conservative Government.”

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