Parked! Double disappointment at kids’ play delay in Sidmouth

Plans to upgrade two tired Sidmouth play parks in time for the school summer holidays have been further delayed until the autumn.

Sidmouth Town Council announced the change of plan on Thursday (July 21), stating the existing Ham and Long Park play parks will stay open as they are during the summer holidays.

The council said it was ‘disappointed’ a shortage of ‘key materials and elements’ for both parks meant the work to replace outdated slides, swings and play equipment would have to wait.

It is expected the Long Park upgrade, near Manstone Lane and Arcot Road, will start in early September, and the Ham in October, the council said.

Sidmouth

An artist’s impression of the new equipment at The Ham play park.
Image: with permission.

Sidmouth

Long park, Sidmouth.
Image: with permission.

Councillor Louise Cole, one of the project leaders, said “We have to work with the challenges we face but are really pleased that we have two really great play park designs ready to go and the equipment on order.

“Along with everyone, we are eager for the much-needed improved play spaces to be delivered.

“Meanwhile it is important to keep children and families updated, and to reassure people that the new start time for the play park works whilst unavoidable, also mean that there will be no closures of the parks during the summer holidays.”

The park upgrades had already faced delays because of a shortage of contractors – a knock-on from the pandemic.

The council said fresh the hold-up prompted by a worldwide shortage of materials needed for the works were outside of its control.

A Sidmouth Town Council spokesman said: “Due to a shortage of key materials and elements for both parks, works will now unfortunately, not commence until later this year.

“The council is disappointed to have to announce the delays but did not want to have both parks out of action during the summer due to works.

“The schemes had already been delayed due to shortages of contractors post lockdown and the material and resources shortages being experienced worldwide is yet another factor outside of the Council’s control and is impacting all types of industries.”

He added: “The revised timetable is for works to commence on Long Park in early September with the Ham being renewed in October.

“It is hoped that the designs which were based on feedback from schools and parents, will, once in place, create a buzz of excitement, they are definitely something to look forward to and will be play spaces to be proud of.”

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