St Neots at odds over plans for new playground

A PROPOSAL to build a new children’s play area in Eynesbury has sparked fears that house prices will drop and anti-social behaviour increase.

At St Neots Town Council’s meeting on Thursday (March 29), angry residents demanded a re-think on plans to install a children’s play park on land opposite Cawdor Place and Balmoral Way.

More than 30 residents attended the meeting to object to the play area being built on a communal green opposite their homes. They described it as installing a “teenage combat training ground”.

John Bowskill, 63, of Balmoral Way, told The Hunts Post: “If the development of the play area goes ahead as shown on the plans, some residents will look to move but will suffer financially because their homes will have been devalued.”

Proposals for a play park, which would be designed for children under the age of 12, were first discussed by councillors in July following suggestions from members of the public.

Councillor Roger Harrision said the chosen area provided the perfect location because of its close proximity to Winhills Primary School and added: “At a time when councils are cutting amenities, a new play area in the town is surely a positive thing.”

Some parents of young children who live on the Parklands Estate agree.

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Flint Way mother-of-two Emma Smith added: “Having a play park like this is good for the community. Children are a big part of our community and they deserve this.”

But residents whose homes face the proposed development cannot be convinced.

Eynesbury Primary School teacher Sally Teale, 47, of Bodiam Way, said: “We’ve lived here 26 years and that’s always been a green space. Children have always played there happily without the need for play equipment. This sort of thing will attract teenagers in the evening – they already congregate on the bench by the Willow Bridge with cans of beer.”

Inspector Mark Greenhalgh, safer neighbourhoods manager for Huntingdonshire, said: “It would be an over exaggeration to say all play areas in the town are plagued by vandalism and anti-social behaviour.”