William Eichler 13 April 2017

Austerity forcing councils to close playgrounds

Austerity forcing councils to close playgrounds image

Local authorities have closed hundreds of playgrounds over the last couple of years – and are planning on closing hundreds more, research reveals.

A new study from the Association of Play Industries (API) found between 2014/15 and 2015/16 councils across England closed 214 children’s playgrounds.

And when they were asked about future plans they admitted their aim was to close a further 234.

The association’s report, Nowhere to Play, shows that £100m - which they suggest could come from the Big Lottery - could reverse the decline in playgrounds which, they argue, is necessary in a time of childhood obesity.

‘With increasing childhood obesity and the health benefits of activity and play well known, now is not the time for community playgrounds to be closing,’ said API chairman Mark Hardy.

‘This action goes against the Government’s clear intention to get children more active and needs to be stopped as quickly as possible. Our survey revealed a 37% cut in Government funding to local authorities.’

‘We know that money is tight for councils across the country, but we can’t just stand by and watch as children's playgrounds close,’ Mr Hardy continued.

‘We are calling on the Government to halt this decline and invest in the next wave of playgrounds to ensure our children have access to free play and activity.’

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