With local councils and voluntary groups across Aberconwy struggling to find the money to maintain playgrounds across the County, Janet Finch-Saunders, Shadow Minister for Children and Young People, has called on the Minister for Local Government to recognise that playgrounds are in peril and reverse settlement cuts.
This follows on from the work the Member has been doing to support The Friends of Queens Park, and concerns that have been raised with her by local Town Councillors.
Commenting on the situation, Janet said:
“As one of the founding members of the Friends of Queens Park, a group of volunteers committed to protecting and improving our green area in Craig y Don, I remember Conwy County Borough Council clearly promising to maintain play equipment.
“In recent years Conwy County Borough Council, along with other councils across North Wales, has faced increased financial pressures. These have not been reflected in the funding settlement handed down to Conwy by the Cardiff-based, Labour Welsh Government. Despite these financial challenges, Welsh Conservative-led Conwy have identified almost a quarter of a million pounds to support playground maintenance during 2019/20.
“Conwy County Borough Council’s playground maintenance budget has fluctuated from year to year and is likely to decrease as the Welsh Government’s budget squeezes begin to bite. I know that Welsh Conservative councillors have secured a review of playground maintenance and are anxious to see our town, community and county councils work together to ensure our playgrounds are maintained. Llandudno Town Council already provides generous funding support and it would be good to see if other town and community councils are in a position to follow suit.
“The situation is becoming quite serious because despite the value of playgrounds to health and wellbeing being common knowledge, there is a real risk that equipment will be removed as there is very little money to fix or replace facilities. Make no mistake, this is due to the Welsh Government failing to recognise and take action to assist with the myriad of funding pressures facing North Wales councils like Conwy. I have already started to work with my Welsh Conservative colleagues to try and see more money swing from the Senedd to our Authority.
“As it stands, there is no reason why finance should not be forthcoming as it is fact that Sajid Javid has announced that an extra £600 million will be sent to the Welsh Government.
“Our local councils and community groups are playing their part to tackle our playground funding crisis. It is now down to the Minister for Local Government to acknowledge that councils are in need and that without her support, playgrounds and other public facilities will be in peril”.