PLANS to invest £650,000 into one of Bradford’s most popular play areas has been welcomed by a local Councillor.

This week Bradford Council’s Executive approved a £6.4 million scheme to improve play areas across the district.

The first part of this investment will come later this year in the form of a £650,000 boost to the play area in Lister Park, Manningham.

Consultations will take place with local communities and park groups to decide how the rest of the money will be spread out at the scores of play areas across the district.

At a meeting of the Executive, Phil Barker, Assistant Director of Sport and Culture, said: “A lot of the people in our district live in urban areas. It is important we provide them with the best play opportunities as we can.

“Lister Park has equipment that is over 20 years old, and is subject to high use.”

£15 million plan to boost sports facilities across the Bradford District

The amount of spend on Lister Park, 10 per cent of the total funding, was questioned by Councillor Robert Hargreaves (Cons, Queensbury), who pointed out that there were play areas at 165 Council run sites through the district.

He was told that the money would be spread fairly through the district, but that Lister Park was a “destination” play area that attracted people from across Bradford.

Councillor Sarah Ferriby, executive for Healthy People and Places, said: “With Lister Park there has been a considerable amount of time since the play area had any investment.”

The last big investment in Lister Park’s play area was around 20 years ago.

Council Leader Susan Hinchcliffe said they hoped the Council would be able to secure more funding, and the £6.4 million, adding: “This is the start of the investment. There is an obesity problem in the district, and we need to make it easier to get out and get involved in physical activity, no matter where they live.”

Mr Barker added: “Hopefully other opportunities ould arise in terms of funding. We’ll be looking at what other funding streams we can secure. The final funding could end up as significantly higher than £6.4 million.”

Work on the Lister Park play area is due to begin in Autumn or early winter.

Councillor Sarfraz Nazir (Lab, Manningham) was delighted that the Lister Park play area was getting the funding. He said: “I’m really happy. It is something I picked up a couple of years ago.

“Parts of it are in a state of disrepair, it is not fit for purpose any more. The surface is in a state of disrepair, it is coming apart. It has lasted beyond its life span.

“Children from all communities and different backgrounds use the play area. In the Summer it gets really, really busy, there are sometimes queues of half an hour to use the equipment. A lot of kids are not able to use the facilities. It is in the heart of Bradford and there is always activity in and around the park. I’ve been lobbying Council officers and working with the Executive, and I’m really happy the Play area will be upgraded.”