A NEGLECTED play area on a Winchester council estate is set for a £200,000 revamp as part of a programme that nears £1 million in total.

A refurbished play area and skate park is being planned for the King George V (KGV) playing field in Highcliffe.

The area has long been considered for the facilities but nothing was done as it was a potential location for the new leisure centre that is now earmarked for the nearby Garrison Ground.

The Winchester Town Forum heard the city council has a five-year plan, totalling £930,000, to upgrade playgrounds across the city.

Former city councillor Janet Berry spoke at the forum about the need for the improved facility at KGV. Speaking on behalf of the Highcliffe Community Forum, she said the play area and skate park was last upgraded in 2003-04 and it was well-used locally.

Ms Berry said she was concerned that although the scheme was being discussed, no definite funding had yet been secured.

The council has this year been doing work at four sites: Winnall Manor Road (£200,000) officially reopened on Saturday, November 17 by Mayor Cllr Frank Pearson (see page 26); Gordon Avenue, Highcliffe (£80,000) and Taplings Road, Weeke (£80,000) – the subject of a recent public consultation and is due for work by the end of March 2019.

A little-used play area at Marnhall Rise, off Chilbolton Avenue, is also going to be removed and the land converted into a general open space.

Susan Lord, city council outdoor recreation officer, said the new play area at Winnall Manor Road had been well-received by all, much better than the previous equipment which attracted vandalism and anti-social behaviour.

The new equipment includes a zip wire, which it had previously a number years ago. “It is buzzing and busy at all times of the day. It is in the right location,” said Ms Lord.

However, she said the play area at Gordon Avenue “tries to do everything and does nothing”. The new equipment would concentrate on the under-12s.

Work on the play area at North Walls, next to St Bede School was on hold because of the review of future use of the nearby River Park Leisure Centre.

The five year programme for total refurbishment from 2021-26:

  • 2020-21: Abbey Gardens, £120,000; Chaundler Road, Abbotts Barton, £90,000; KGV £200,000.
  • 2021-22: Dean Park, Weeke, £120,000.
  • 2022-23: Somers Close, Stanmore (partial), £20,000; Thurmond Cresent, Stanmore, £60,000; Stanmore Recreation Ground, £100,000.
  • 2023-24: Fairdown Close, £50,000, St Martins Close, Winnall, £60,000.
  • 2024-25: Arlington Place, Hyde (partial), £20,000, Friary Gardens, £40,000.