We're outgrowing Keynsham's play areas, nine-year-old Claudia tells council

Published on: 03 Mar 2017

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Keynsham’s parks need to grow up and offer play equipment for older children, councillors have been told by a nine-year-old resident who spoke at their last meeting.

St John’s Primary School pupil Claudia Tucker wrote to Keynsham Town Council setting out her ideas for a new play area, which could be built anywhere councillors wanted, she said – as long as it was in the High Street.

A drawing of the park – called Claudia’s Adventures – includes a pirate ship, a climbing wall, a café and a pool and would be aimed at children aged eight and over.

Claudia’s mum Monica explained that while the Memorial Park’s play area was popular with younger children, including Claudia’s six-year-old sister Gabriella, it wasn’t suited to older children – and Claudia decided to try to do something about it.

“I said why not write a letter to the council, never expecting her to do it, but then she wrote one and asked if we could post it.

“The councillors invited us to come to the meeting and I was really pleased that they were taking notice and listening to young people – the equipment in the park is looking tired and is aimed at younger children.”

Claudia said it was “very scary” talking to the councillors but said she thought their promise to visit schools and speak to children about what they would like in Keynsham was a good idea.

A review of Keynsham’s play areas is under way, town clerk Dr Cheryl Scott said, including improvements to the Memorial Park site, while the issue of facilities for children was also being looked at as part of the town’s Neighbourhood Development Plan. 

“The town council is undertaking a review of all its play areas and recognises that some of the equipment is either outdated or not suitable for older children,” she said. “This is part of a wider review we are undertaking with B&NES and currently a proposal is being considered to refurbish Upper Memorial Park play area. The council wishes to ensure there is suitable space where all children, whatever their age, can enjoy playing and that the equipment supplied is not restricted to the younger age group. However, before we spend any money, we need to find out what the children want and that is why Claudia’s letter is so important to us.

“So as part of the Neighbourhood Development Plan, we are looking to engage with children and young people of all ages to find out what they would like to see in Keynsham. Our Recreation Topic Group will be planning to visit all schools during the year so children and young people can tell us what they think.” 

There will be an NDP stall at the Festival of Nature in Keynsham Memorial Park on Sunday, June 18, representing all five topic groups where residents will be able to see what progress is being made and share their own opinions. More information on the NDP is available by emailing ndp@keynsham-tc.gov.uk or calling the town council on 0117 986 8683.

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