Leeds mum petitions council over Western Flatts park in Wortley after '20 years of neglect'
A petition urging Leeds Council to renovate Western Flatts Playground in Wortley has gained 741 signatures in its first three days.
Mum Lucy Williams, an NHS project manager, says the playground was installed more than 20 years ago and has deteriorated without major changes additions or improvements in this time.
Lucy, aged 29, set up the petition to demonstrate the level of interest from the local community for the park’s renovation.
She told The Yorkshire Evening Post: “Play is so important to children’s emotional, physical, social and mental wellbeing and should be accessible to all including those with Special Educational Needs and disabilities.
“The importance of a high-quality, fit-for-purpose outdoor local playground that can be accessed by all of the children in the surrounding community cannot be underestimated - especially in the wake of a global pandemic that has left many children deprived of this for over a year.
“It's just really dilapidated, it's been there for over 20 years, there's been no changes.
“It means a lot to a lot of people in Leeds, and for people who don’t have a garden and for people who live local and might not want to get on a bus right now, I just think it will make a world of difference to the kids in the local area really.
If you look at it it's highly unlikely that it complies with today’s safety standards.
“The petition has got 741 signatures in three days.
"I thought I was going to have to go canvasing, I'm really surprised that it has reached this level already to be honest”
-> Snow could hit Leeds from Easter Sunday in Arctic plungeShe added: “I know from speaking to other parents at the playground they’ve had no response, or the council has just said its adequate for needs. But I don’t think it is, when you look around the rest of Leeds, for example, Morley have a lovely park, and now [there are] renovations at Armley, it just feels really forgotten about”.
Lucy says the petition will add a “community voice” to the process of trying to get Local Authority funding to improve the play area to “safe, appropriate, and accessible” standards that fall “in line with many other parks within the region”.
She argues that, in its current format, the playground is not fit for purpose because the playground offers no suitable special educational needs or disability equipment, there are no segregated areas for different age groups and the equipment is approaching disrepair due to its age.
Lucy also said that the equipment 'poses safety concerns' and is a bit 'depressing'.
Lucy she stressed that 'this is not intended to be a criticism of the local council and is intended to trigger the process of having this playground renovated - a process in which I would be happy to support with.'
A spokesperson for Leeds Council said: “We always welcome feedback from residents regarding any specific issues they may spot, or general ways in which they think we can improve our playgrounds and parks.
“Due to the significant budgetary pressures that we continue to face, any refurbishment and renovations that we carry out at our existing 150+ playgrounds across Leeds are assessed by a range of factors in order to assess priority. Checks to our equipment will be carried out by members of our parks team.”