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Splash park - Bexley council still waiting for report so it can make decision

PUBLISHED: 12:00 23 April 2015 | UPDATED: 12:00 23 April 2015

Belvedere Splash Park

Belvedere Splash Park

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Campaigners continue fight for water play area at Belvedere Recreation Ground North

A deputation to Bexley council complaining about the plight of the popular Belvedere Splash Park was greeted with dismay by the councillor in charge of the project.

Last night (Wednesday) the council heard from campaign group Save the Splash Park which believes the authority wants to shut down it for good.

The group is calling on Bexley to open a new water park at Belvedere Recreation Ground North and for it to look at ways the £20,000-per-year needed to pay for the park could be found – including through business sponsorship and grants.

But the man in charge, Cllr Alex Sawyer, says he can’t make any decisions until he receives a report on possible options for the park and can then look at potential costs.

As the park relies on a water supply from an underground tank, and because it’s the same water, it is prone to repeated contamination from bacteria and filtration problems. This has lead to a number of closures over the years.

Fresh water supplied from the mains is by far the best solution, but this option could cost up to half a million pounds to introduce.

A local firm has offered to help with the cost, but because a full feasibility report is yet to be completed, no cash has yet been handed over.

Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Alex Sawyer said: “The deputation was received by the council and I explained the current situation.

“Work started three days after the public meeting at the start of last November to try and assess the options to allow a continuation wet play on the site.

“I haven’t yet received the report so I do not what options may or may not be open to me. I went on to say that once I have received the report, I will be in a better position to understand the way forward and start the process of examining cost.

“There was some confusion on the part of the deputation which stated that at the budget meeting, the council refused to ring fence the money from a local business within the capital programme. In fact, the council hasn’t received the money so it’s impossible to ring fence money that doesn’t exist.

“I emphasised once again that any solution must be capital and revenue neutral and mains water fed as I do not want to see the Splash Park close and I want a long term solution for children to enjoy for years to come. This has been my position since the start.

“The deputation was under the impression that no reason had been given to as to why the splash park is closed this year despite representatives attending two public meetings at which I explained the filtration issues. I again highlighted the number of occasions in 2014 that the Splash Park had been closed for cleaning owing to above industry standards levels of bacteria being found.”

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