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Agenda item

Birkdale Grove - Play area fence consultation

This report seeks approval for the removal of the metal fence around Birkdale Grove “play area” (which inside the land shown edged red on the plan attached at Annex 1). A local consultation on this proposal generated comments from the immediate and wider local community which are provided to inform the Executive Member’s decision.

Decision:

Resolved:

i.             That the decision be deferred to a later date to provide an opportunity for Cllr Lomas, as Ward Member for Acomb, to liaise with residents of the adjoining housing estate and other users of Birkdale Grove, in order to investigate potential alternative solutions to the issue, including but not limited to:

-      That the fence remains in place and the area be only used as a children’s play area.

-      That the fence remains in place and funds from the Acomb ward budget be accessed to install children’s play equipment.

-      That the area is designated as both for children and dogs.

-      That the fence be removed.

 

ii.            That the ballot be rerun, with a wider voting area and some form of weighting in favour of those residents closer to Birkdale Grove, with details to be decided by the Ward Member.

 

iii.          That officers work with the Ward Member to assess and review local parking arrangements.

 

iv.          That the Parks and Open Spaces team undertake a review of Birkdale Grove, to ensure that the fence is properly secured, that there is a rota for cleaning the park, and to explore the option of installing more dog waste bins.

 

Reason:     To build a consensus on the best solution for residents on the Birkdale Grove play area fence.

 

Minutes:

This report sought approval for the removal of the metal fence around Birkdale Grove “play area”. A local consultation on this proposal generated comments from the immediate and wider local community which were provided to inform the Executive Member’s decision. The Head of Environmental Services and the Operations Manager, Public Realm were in attendance to present the report and respond to questions.

 

Key points raised during the presentation of the report included:

·        Officers apologised to the Executive Member and to residents for the late delivery of letters and slow communication around the consultation.

·        The Local Plan recorded the space as amenity open space, however no play equipment was ever installed.

·        The whole site measured 95x50 meters, with the fenced area measuring at 75x30 meters.

·        Dog walkers had the used the space for several years, and opinion was divided amongst local residents on whether they ought to be able to use the space.

·        Three ‘no dog’ signs were installed in January 2021, some of which were later damaged.

·        The Council’s legal department had confirmed that signs were only advisory and could not be enforced without the initiation of a separate legal process.

·        The idea of removing the fence as a means of solving the impasse was discussed with the local ward councillor, and it was decided to hold a ballot of local residents. The streets to be surveyed were agreed with the local ward councillor.

·        57 households were balloted, with the expectation that a simple majority of the households of replied would decide the ballot. 19 responses were received, with 11 for the removal of the fence (58%) and 8 against (42%).

·        Residents both within and without the ballot area sent comments to the Council arguing for the fence to be retained, which were included within the report.

 

Comments from the Executive Member included:

·        That the fenced area was not completely secure.

·        After having heard arguments for and against, there was a need to re-run the consultation and ballot.

 

 

 

Resolved:

i.             That the decision be deferred to a later date to provide an opportunity for Cllr Lomas, as Ward Member for Acomb, to liaise with residents of the adjoining housing estate and other users of Birkdale Grove, in order to investigate potential alternative solutions to the issue, including but not limited to:

-      That the fence remains in place and the area be only used as a children’s play area.

-      That the fence remains in place and funds from the Acomb ward budget be accessed to install children’s play equipment.

-      That the area is designated as both for children and dogs.

-      That the fence be removed.

 

ii.            That the ballot be rerun, with a wider voting area and some form of weighting in favour of those residents closer to Birkdale Grove, with details to be decided by the Ward Member.

 

iii.          That officers work with the Ward Member to assess and review local parking arrangements.

 

iv.          That the Parks and Open Spaces team undertake a review of Birkdale Grove, to ensure that the fence is properly secured, that there is a rota for cleaning the park, and to explore the option of installing more dog waste bins.

 

Reason:     To build a consensus on the best solution for residents on the Birkdale Grove play area fence.

Supporting documents:

 

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