Derbyshire Dales: Nowhere for kids to play as area closed

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Youngsters have been left without anywhere to play after a children’s play area was closed down.

Dales Housing removed the equipment from the children’s play area, at the top of Alton Rise in Matlock, before padlocking the gates to the area so no-one could use it.

Jackie Jackson lives on nearby Bakewell Road. Her grandchildren live on the Morledge estate and enjoyed using the play area.

“There’s nowhere at all for them to play now – not a slide or a swing to play on,” she said.

“At least before they had somewhere where they could go on a slide or a climbing frame.”

She pointed out that the play area has always been used by children from Morledge and Hooley’s estate, but now that the Poppyfields development has opened there are even more children living nearby who need a place to play.

“There was supposed to be a play area opened on Morledge, but that has been completed now and there is no sign of it,” Jackie said.

“The closest play area to here is the one near the Arc, but that is more for older children.”

She added that parents living in the area were so upset at the loss of the facility, they were considering forming an action group to have it replaced.

Jacque Allen, group director of housing and neighbourhoods at Acclaim Housing Group, of which Dales Housing is a part, said: “We decided to remove the play equipment at Alton Rise Park after a routine inspection highlighted that the equipment was no longer fit for purpose.

“We are aware of plans for a new park on a nearby development, so we are currently looking at options for the land and plan to consult our tenants and local residents about how the space can be used to meet the needs of the community.”

A spokesman for Derbyshire Dales District Council confirmed there is still going to be a play area installed on the Morledge estate, but the date for this has not yet been determined.

He said: “On the Dimple Fields play area, it depends what the resident means by not suitable for “younger” children – it was actually reopened and revamped to the tune of £20,000 in the summer of 2013 after a consultation that involved children from the local All Saints Infants School, and features secure swings for toddlers in addition to an aerial runway and a multi-activity unit and basket swing.”

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