New £7,000 wild play area set for Bransgore
WORK on a £7,000 project to create a wild play area in Bransgore is set to begin in the new year.
The scheme to install five small, wooden play structures at Clare Lodge copse has divided local opinion, however, with some residents expressing concerns about antisocial behaviour and wildlife disturbance.
Aimed at children aged up to eight, the new play equipment will include climbing logs, balancing activities and a wooden sculpture. An interpretation board with information about local wildlife is also set to be installed.
Recently retired parish clerk Edwin Macknamara explained: “We were approached by the national park authority about creating a wild play area some time ago because there was a pot of money available from the 106 developers’ contributions fund that was earmarked for use in Bransgore.
“We looked at several sites in the village and identified Clare Lodge as the most suitable because it is largely surrounded by housing.”
Around 50 nearby households were contacted by the parish council and invited to give feedback on the proposal.
Mr Macknamara continued: “Opinions were fairly evenly divided between younger families who welcomed the plan and some older residents who were concerned about disturbance of wildlife and antisocial behaviour.
“The parish council considered all of the comments received at their meeting in October, when a decision was made by a six to one majority to proceed with the scheme.”
He added: “There was a significant number of residents who supported the scheme although a number of residents did raise concerns and a petition was also received.”
Mr Macknarama said parish councillors hoped that by creating the wild play area, younger generations would have an opportunity to engage with wildlife and develop a sense of responsibility and ownership of the area.
He added: “The national park authority have plenty of experience with creating these sort of facilities for young people. It will be made entirely of natural materials and will be in keeping with the woodland setting.”
Following concerns raised during the consultation, the parish council has agreed to step up its maintenance work at Clare Lodge copse and keep records of any problems with antisocial behaviour.
Similar wild play areas have been created in Sway and Ashurst.