Harlow Council leader prepared to listen over Town Park paddling pool
News / Sun 22nd Jul 2018 am31 08:54am
THE LEADER of Harlow Council has said he is prepared to listen over plans to replace paddling pools with splash parks.
Councillor Mark Ingall outlined plans on Thursday evening at a meeting of the Labour-run Cabinet.
There has been a lot of support for the plans but many residents are against removing the Town Park paddling pool.
Harlow resident, Martin Dear has got one step further and started a petition.
By Sunday morning it had over 200 signatures.
This is what local democracy is all about, a plan is set out then the public are invited to give their views.
This is a fantastic proposal, to develop a better environment for the younger residents and visitors to the town. The current paddling pool has served residents for many decades but fails to meet current standards and is therefore no longer fit for its intended purpose. I think key aspects to consider in such a scheme are: Accessibility:- Developing the area to ensure that it is accessible to all. The current steep inclines at the town park make it difficult to access for those less abled and those with pushchairs. Safe Environment:- Creating a safe environment for families with children up to the ages of 12 (stated as the target market). You only need to look a similar schemes nearby to note that appropriate fencing around pool areas is a key element to ensuring the safety of visitors along with appropriate signage. The current open arrangement at the town park leaves the pool area open to irresponsible pet owners who encourage their domestic animals into the pool during evening hours as a treat. Facilities:- For as long as I can remember the paddling pool has had no toilet facilities, in decades past the previous iteration of the swimming pool provided facilities and a shop for refreshments, confectioneries and snacks; no such facilities currently exist. This in turn provides a revenue stream and opportunity for employment which should be considered. This proposed splash park really does appear to be a no-brainer, given the escalating costs of maintaining the dilapidated status quo.
A large part of the objection is based on the premise that the splash pools do not suit the secondary purposes which the paddling pools were put to ... from skateboarding,to BMX, to scoots ...even skating ... The skatepark is in need of repair work ... and the Market Square restyling is not getting the best of responses. In addition, anti-social behaviour around the Market Square continues to be a problem. I think Harlow Council may be missing a trick here. If 5% of the 'ring fenced budget' for the splash pools was redirected to repairing the First Avenue Skatepark, and some of the stage two funding of the Market Square regeneration included a few ramps, rails and boxes, and maybe a halfpipe, we could solve 2/3 problems at the same time.
Re above: There is good evidence that 'urban sports' facilities can make areas safer, and discourage anti-social activities. Sports 'zones' with Parkour/skate areas would be a positive addition to the market square.
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