A GROUP dedicated to improving a local park is encouraging people in Cleckheaton to have their say over a new district-wide strategy that could see traditional play equipment being removed from parks.

The Friends of West End Park, who have raised £40,000 to benefit the park since setting up five years ago, fear their enclosed play area could go under the new strategy which Kirklees Council is consulting on.

The draft strategy aims to encourage more “wild adventurous play” and encourage children to play in “new, exciting and more creative ways”.

Martin Webster, chairman of the Friends group, said he feared this would lead to the older equipment and surrounding fencing being removed at West End Park.

“The enclosed playground area is very popular with young children and their carers as it keeps out dogs,” he said.

“The fencing has had little or no maintenance over the last 20 years but the bark layer is expensive to top-up and the equipment is old.

“All these things make it a target for removal.”

He added that they welcomed the introduction of more natural play, and already had some wooden structures in the park at West End.

The play strategy was presented to cabinet in June and now the authority is asking for people’s views on play to help them further develop their plans.

The strategy states that Kirklees has a large number of existing play areas and this is a chance to diversify the play provision and improve its


It also outlines how the authority will be assessing the “play value” of equipped play areas and redesigning the existing provisions to better utilise the existing stock of manufactured play equipment.


It does however add that: “No existing play spaces will be removed, however there may be items of manufactured equipment removed or relocated to other play areas within the local catchment.

“Areas where manufactured play equipment is removed will be redesigned into playable spaces and areas that include manufactured equipment will benefit from safer, higher quality and compliant equipment.”

Workshops are being held shortly, with one in Cleckheaton at the Town Hall, on Wednesday, October 18, from 6pm to 8pm.