A £100,000 transformation of a Darwen playground will start next week

THE total renovation of a popular but dilapidated playground will begin next week.

The £100,000 contract has been awarded for new equipment to refurbish the Blacksnape Play Area in Darwen.

The money comes as a developer contribution from a deal with McDermott Homes, which is building a housing estate on nearby Ellison Fold Way.

£100,000 refurbishment to begin at Blacksnape Playing Fields in #Darwen from next week ☀️

The park gets a completely new look & feel, with several pieces of modern equipment – including double racing zip-wires! 👏

Read more here👉 https://t.co/8YMMQJVlqJ pic.twitter.com/d3zsJmEF6n

The new Darwen themed play area will provide local young children and families with hours of outdoor fun and games for years to come.

The facility, which occupies the same size as before, will have a completely new look and feel with several pieces of modern equipment, including new swings and double racing zip wires.

Construction and renovation of the play area will begin the week beginning Monday, September 5 and will take approximately six to eight weeks to complete.

The development fulfills a design brief which ensured that the winning contractors, Kompan LTD, produced an inclusive, modern and appealing play area for all local residents to enjoy.

Money for the refurbishment has been secured as part of a Section 106 deal with McDermott Homes – the developers building on nearby Ellison Fold Way.

Leader of Blackburn with Darwen Council, Councilor Phil Riley, who is also deputy chairman of the Darwen Town Deal, said: “I am really pleased to unveil the plans to transform the playground at Blacksnape.

“The next five years will see tens of millions of pounds invested in transforming Darwen as part of the Town Deal, which is just incredible.

“During our consultation on plans for how this money could be spent, residents shared how they take pride in the city’s parks, but investing in playgrounds came through as a strong priority for Dawen.

“We have listened to residents and although the Town Deal rules did not include investment in projects like this, the council has been able to commit the full £100,000 from the Section 106 contributions on Ellison Fold Way. This will pave the way for a fantastic new playground at Blacksnape.”

As part of the Town Deal, plans to make the most of Darwen’s rolling countryside are also being looked at as part of a new ‘Destination Darwen’ scheme.

This will include improved links linking the city centre, residential areas, parks and the moor.

The trails are aimed at encouraging more active travel – particularly walking and cycling – and outdoor exercise opportunities for residents, as well as encouraging new visitors to help boost the local economy.

And this month an extra £1.5m was announced. as part of the 2022/2023 budget for the Council’s Environment and Highways Services.

The extra funding focuses on what residents have said is important to them and will be used to create five new park ranger roles – including one for both Bold Venture Park and Whitehall Park in Darwen – a boost to the number of litter pickers, an extra driver to empty bins, a new educational worker and more.

Councilor Riley added: “This is a really exciting time for Darwen and we are focusing on the things we know are important to residents.

“We are incredibly lucky to be surrounded by fantastic green, open spaces in the borough and we want to do everything we can to make the most of them.

“We would love to see a fantastic playground in every park, but unfortunately we have faced crippling funding cuts over the last decade which have hit hard.

“But using funding like that offered through Section 106 deals we can continue to improve and I know the new playground at Blacksnape will be a very welcome boost.”

Section 106 agreements are agreements between councils and developers linked to planning permission to fund local infrastructure needs such as play areas, schools and roads.

On Ellison Fold Way, McDermott Homes is building 343 new homes, including 67 affordable homes.

In total, the scheme will provide £1.5m in phased infrastructure grants, including play area improvements plus around £640,000 for motorway improvements and £740,000 for a future primary school extension.

Now the money has been secured for the playground, designs for what the playground could look like will be developed with work expected to start later this year.

The main project aims for the Blacksnape play area are to: