A schematic image of what the playground could look like. Credit: BwD Council
MAJOR renovations to a popular but dilapidated children’s playground will begin next week.
A £100,000 contract has been awarded for new equipment to redevelop the Blacksnape Play Area in Darwen.
The money comes as a developer contribution from an agreement with McDermott Homes that is building the apartment complex on nearby Ellison Fold Way.
Darwen’s new themed playground will provide local young children and families with hours of fun and games for years to come.
Remaining the same size as before, the facility will have a new look and feel, with a host of modern equipment, including new turn signals and two racing wires.
Construction and renovation of the stadium will begin the week beginning Monday, September 5, and is scheduled to take approximately six to eight weeks to complete.
The development met a design brief which ensured the winning contractors, Kompan LTD, created an integrated, modern and attractive area for all residents to enjoy.
Funding has been earmarked for the renovation as part of a Section 106 agreement with McDermott Homes – the developer is building near Ellison Fold Way.
Leader of Blackburn with Darwen Council, Councilor Phil Riley, who is also Darwen Town Agreement Deputy Chairman, said: “I am very pleased to be able to announce the plans to transform the stadium at Blacksnape.
“Over the next five years tens of millions of pounds will be invested in transforming Darwen as part of the City Deal which is fantastic.
“During our consultation on how to spend the money, residents expressed how proud they are of the town’s parks, but investing in playgrounds remains a top priority for Dawen.
“We listened to residents and while the Town Deal rules do not include investment in projects like this, the council was able to make the full £100,000 from the Section 106 contribution at Ellison Fold Way. This will pave the way for a new playground with amazing at Blacksnape.”
As part of the Town Agreement, plans are also being looked at to make the most of Darwen’s rural areas as part of a new ‘Purpose Darwen’ scheme.
This will include improved links linking the town centre, residential areas, parks and the moors.
The plans aim to encourage more travel – especially walking and cycling – and outdoor exercise options for residents and encourage 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 Department for the Environment and Highways.
The extra money focuses on what local residents say is important to them and will be used to create five new parks – including a second Bold Venture Park and Whitehall Park in Darwen – improvements to the number of garbage collectors, more drivers. for everything at litterbins, the new education officer and more.
Cllr Riley added: “This is an exciting time for Darwen and we are focusing on things we know are important to residents.
“We are very lucky to be surrounded by beautiful green, open spaces in the county and we want to do everything we can to take advantage of them.
“We want to see a fantastic stadium in every park, but unfortunately we’ve had to deal with funding cuts over the last decade which have been very difficult.
“However, by using funding like this provided through the Section 106 deal, we can continue to improve and I know the new stadium at Blacksnape will be a pleasure.”
Section 106 agreements are agreements between councils and developers relating to planning permission to support local infrastructure needs such as playgrounds, schools and roads.
At Ellison Fold Way, McDermott Homes is building 343 new homes, including 67 affordable homes.
In total, the scheme will provide £1.5 million in infrastructure contributions, including playground improvements and around £640,000 for main road improvements and £740,000 for future extensions to the primary school.
Now that the money for the stadium has been secured, designs for what the stadium will look like will be developed with work expected to begin later in the year.
The main task aimed at the Blacksnape game area is:
Providing an imaginative, physically challenging and cooperative play experience for children of all ages and abilities;
Creating a unique and visually interesting playground, which serves as a destination for local residents, which families will want to visit again and again;
Ensuring a strong and durable playground that is cost-effective to maintain and suitable for green space in an exposed location (in natural conditions);
Ensure that any toys currently on site in good working order remain in place (although they can be moved if required);
Creating an area that promotes a safe and recreational environment encourages people to stay and enjoy the area;
Provide a play area that encourages physical play and promotes movement and exercise.