Anger as Huntingdon playground gets swapped for garden area


Angry parents have described a decision to remove a children’s play area and replace it with a garden as “unacceptable and short-sighted”.

On Monday, families living near Hinchingbrooke Hospital watched as mechanical diggers removed a toddler’s swing and slide from a play park in Snowdonia Way, and after contacting Huntingdon Town Council discovered that the old, rusty equipment was not going to be replaced and the plan was to landscape the area.

“The replacement garden is hardly beneficial for a road comprising of detached family houses, all of which have their own private gardens,” said Jonathan Bowman, of Snowdonia Way.

In September, the council’s Leisure and Community Services Committee discussed buying new play equipment for Snowdonia Way and nearby Dartmoor Drive and set up a working party. In October, a further meeting was held, and via a consultation it was discovered that some residents were unhappy with the play park as they feared it was attracting teenagers who were causing a disturbance and councillors decided to landscape the park.

Mr Bowman said he and other parents were outraged at the decision as he had never witnessed any bad behaviour at the park.

He added: “If this small minority of residents believe crime exists at a toddler playground why on earth would it be deterred by a garden or other communal area? It appears that a small negative minority without children have won through in a road full of family houses.”

Town councillor Tom Sanderson said 19 people had responded to the consultation, of which, 10 were in favour and nine were against the idea of new play equipment.

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“The reason we decided to go with the nine people who were against the proposal is that they live nearer to the park and are affected by the noise. We have ordered new trim trail equipment for the Dartmoor Drive park, which will require less maintenance for the council and it is only a few minutes away from Snowdonia Way.

“Mr Bowman was invited to the consultation meeting in October, I accept he couldn’t make that meeting, but we have to manage both sides of this issue. We know it is not going to be to everyone’s liking.”

Mr Bowman and other parents have contacted the town council to voice their concerns about losing the facility and will also carry out a door-to-door survey to gauge opinion.