Progress on new Play Plan for Council area welcomed
11 March 2021
Members of Council's Environment and Regeneration Committee have welcomed an update on the ongoing process to develop an overarching Play Plan for the City and District.
The report was brought to the online monthly meeting by Playboard NI, the organisation tasked with overseeing the co-design of the strategy which will shape the future planning and provision of all local play facilities. A districtwide audit of existing provision has already been carried out, as well as extensive consultation with political representatives.
The report gave an overview of the work to date, and outlined the breakdown of need identified across both rural and urban areas in accordance with Playboard's standards of play provision. This will form part of the draft play plan which will be brought back for wider public consultation in the summer.
The report also highlighted the quality of the facilities currently in place and identified the need for a play plan partnership which would involve other community and statutory partners and ensure all needs are being addressed.
Members took the opportunity to discuss a wide range of issues relating to facilities in their own district electrical areas, including a higher level of need in rural areas, and stressed the urgency of addressing issues in areas red flagged for upgrade and development. The development of a dedicated funding strategy was also raised as a priority and the identification of new funding streams to ensure public expectations can be met within a realistic timeframe.
Council's Director of Environment and Regeneration Karen Phillips told members that a significant amount of new play area were developed since the establishment of the new Council, aligned to Council's Green Infrastructure Plan, and reassured the committee that work would continue in tandem with the completion of the plan. She stressed that high quality play provision for all ages and abilities remains a priority within Council's Strategic Growth Plan.
Speaking after the meeting Chair of the Environment and Regeneration Committee Maurice Devenney, said the extensive report set out a positive blueprint for the future of play provision across Derry and Strabane. "Today's update provided a valuable insight into the priority areas where Council needs to focus its attentions when setting out plans in terms of future capital development and the delivery of quality play provision to meet the needs of local communities.
"I welcome today's report and I want to acknowledge the significant work by PlayBoard NI and Council officers in assessing local need and a positive way forward. We all know there is a huge body of work ahead but we are well on our way to establishing a long term strategy that will allow us to prioritise delivery and agree a funding strategy to be able to deliver much needed facilities. I Iook forward to seeing the feedback from today's meeting included in the draft plan and that plan moving on to the public consultation phase."