Axminster play areas given £157,000 revamp

PUBLISHED: 11:59 31 January 2020 | UPDATED: 12:08 31 January 2020

Children from St Mary's Catholic Primary School at the official opening of Foxhill play area in Axminster. Ref mha 05 20TI 7257. Picture: Terry Ife

Children from St Mary's Catholic Primary School at the official opening of Foxhill play area in Axminster. Ref mha 05 20TI 7257. Picture: Terry Ife

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Two play areas in Axminster have been officially reopened after being given a major revamp.

Val Ranger, Sarah Jackson and Jerry Walden at the official opening of Foxhill play area in Axminster with children from St Mary's Catholic Primary School. Ref mha 05 20TI 7247. Picture: Terry IfeVal Ranger, Sarah Jackson and Jerry Walden at the official opening of Foxhill play area in Axminster with children from St Mary's Catholic Primary School. Ref mha 05 20TI 7247. Picture: Terry Ife

East Devon District Council (EDDC) worked with local youngsters to improve facilities at Loretto Road and Foxhill.

Around £157,000 worth of modern play equipment - chosen by local children and funded by the council - has now been installed.

Val Ranger, Sarah Jackson and Dave Cook at the official opening of Loretto Road play area in Axminster. Ref mha 05 20TI 7236. Picture: Terry IfeVal Ranger, Sarah Jackson and Dave Cook at the official opening of Loretto Road play area in Axminster. Ref mha 05 20TI 7236. Picture: Terry Ife

On Tuesday (January 28) pupils from St Mary's Catholic Primary School joined district councillors to celebrate the completion of the project.

Some £105,000 of the cost of the £120,000 Foxhill play area has come from EDDC's main budgets. The remaining £15,000 is planning gain money given by developers who have created new homes in Axminster.

Val Ranger, Sarah Jackson and Jerry Walden at the official opening of Foxhill play area in Axminster with children from St Mary's Catholic Primary School. Ref mha 05 20TI 7252. Picture: Terry IfeVal Ranger, Sarah Jackson and Jerry Walden at the official opening of Foxhill play area in Axminster with children from St Mary's Catholic Primary School. Ref mha 05 20TI 7252. Picture: Terry Ife

Money from the same Section 106 source has met the £37,000 cost of the new equipment at Loretto Road.

As part of the equipment selection process, EDDC talked to children and young people from Axminster to help understand what activities they wanted in the town's play areas.

Val Ranger, Sarah Jackson and Dave Cook at the official opening of Loretto Road play area in Axminster. Ref mha 05 20TI 7234. Picture: Terry IfeVal Ranger, Sarah Jackson and Dave Cook at the official opening of Loretto Road play area in Axminster. Ref mha 05 20TI 7234. Picture: Terry Ife

The most popular requests were sent to a number of play equipment suppliers, who competed to provide the best designs.

Items installed at Foxhill include a trampoline set in the ground, a zip wire, a tall slide, basket swing, climbing and spinning items and a farmyard theme.

Val Ranger, Sarah Jackson and Jerry Walden at the official opening of Foxhill play area in Axminster with children from St Mary's Catholic Primary School. Ref mha 05 20TI 7243. Picture: Terry IfeVal Ranger, Sarah Jackson and Jerry Walden at the official opening of Foxhill play area in Axminster with children from St Mary's Catholic Primary School. Ref mha 05 20TI 7243. Picture: Terry Ife

Improvements at Loretto Road include a pirate ship, trampoline in the ground, a tall spinning item for multiple people, a mini zip wire and swings.

The play areas were officially opened by Cllr Val Ranger, EDDC's vice-chairman.

Children from St Mary's Catholic Primary School at the official opening of Foxhill play area in Axminster. Ref mha 05 20TI 7265. Picture: Terry IfeChildren from St Mary's Catholic Primary School at the official opening of Foxhill play area in Axminster. Ref mha 05 20TI 7265. Picture: Terry Ife

She said: "I want to congratulate all the children for their fantastic ideas for these play parks.

"I know you've had input from EDDC and members of Axminster Town Council and ward member Cllr Sarah Jackson. You've done a magnificent job!"

Cllr Andrew Moulding, EDDC ward member for Axminster, said 'the fantastic new facilities' at Foxhill and Loretto Road would have been 'a distant dream' for local children back in 1952 when he first moved to live at Foxhill, aged six.

EDDC Axminster ward member Ian Hall thanked the children for helping design such a 'fantastic upgrade'.

Cllr Sarah Jackson, EDDC ward member for Axminster, said: "Access to exciting and challenging play equipment is essential for children both young and old to build key motor skills, to improve social interaction and to develop a healthy understanding of their physical limitations."


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