RESIDENTS’ CAMPAIGN TO RENOVATE PLAYGROUND SUPPORTED BY MP

RESIDENTS of an Abergavenny estate are being supported by their MP in a bid to secure funding for a new children’s playground.
 
David Davies met with local mums Christina Chapman and Sally Jones to discuss the lack of facilities at Heol Hamelin.
 
The existing park, installed 20 years ago, has been condemned and chained up after falling into a state of disrepair.
 
Now the park’s owners, Charter Housing, claim the only way to replace it is for the residents to register as a charity and apply for funding.
 
It is estimated that a new playground could cost £20,000 to £25,000.
David Davies MP with Sally Jones (L) and Christina Chapman (R).

David Davies MP with Sally Jones (L) and Christina Chapman (R).

 
Mrs Chapman, who has a three year-old daughter, said there was nowhere for children to play in a safe and secure environment.
 
“I cannot express how much we desperately need a park,” she said.
 
“There are around 90 houses on the Heol Hamelin estate. Most are families with children ranging in age from babies to early teens.
 
“With no park nearby where the children can let off steam, they have no alternative but to ride up and down the street.
 
“The older children could play in Bailey Park but it’s a long way for them to go and they would have to cross Hereford Road, which is very busy.”
 
For the past two years, Miss Jones has provided play equipment outside her home in Clos Bury Capel.
 
The mum to four boys, including seven year-old twins, supervises the area with neighbouring residents and said it proves there is urgent demand for a safe playground.
 
“I noticed how many more children had moved onto the estate and even though there was a derelict park, the kids played on the street,” said Miss Jones.
 
“I owned a trampoline and slides so I decided to set up a small safe play area for the children. A tyre swing, slides and trampoline were placed opposite my home and the children on the estate have used it ever since.
 
“It has been a supervised area by myself and a couple of others. The equipment brought all the children together. But it is only supposed to be equipment for one or two children. The trampoline has been replaced twice by friends donating theirs.
 
“This proves that a safe play area is urgently needed on this estate.”
 
According to Mrs Chapman, the process to get the playground at Heol Hamelin upgraded began over a year ago when Charter contacted residents to discuss any tenancy-related issues.
 
With the need to improve windows in the properties highlighted as a particular concern, several residents felt a new playground should be a greater priority.
 
“Charter subsequently held meetings to discuss upgrading the park, got quotes back from various people and gave us the go ahead,” said Mrs Chapman.
 
“Now they appear to have backtracked and have told us that the only other way to get a new park is if the residents of Heol Hamelin register as a charity and apply for funding. It’s so frustrating.
 
“We don’t understand why Charter aren’t doing this. We pay them rent and they should be the ones looking after the playground, especially as they own that plot of land. It’s not our responsibility.
 
“I am happy to forgo new doors and windows because the current situation is not fair on the children.”
 
Monmouth MP David Davies agreed to write to Charter Housing in support of reopening or replacing the park as soon as possible.
 
“It was great to meet with Christina and Sally, who are determined to improve facilities for children on the estate, and I look forward to working with residents to explore funding options,” he added.

“Obviously, I would like to find out who is ultimately responsible for the upkeep of the playground and why it has been so poorly maintained over the years to the point where it has been declared unsafe.”
 
A residents meeting is due to take place on Wednesday 13 January at the Abergavenny Community Enterprise (ACE) Centre in Hillcrest Road at 12:30pm.
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