MK City Council Conservative Group will be calling for the commissioning of a comprehensive survey of all play park equipment maintenance and improvement works in parks across the whole of Milton Keynes, through its amendment at tomorrow’s budget Full Council.
The results of this survey would then provide the evidence base to draw together a clear plan on how to resolve the backlog and build sufficient funding into future budgets.
Over the last few years, numerous play parks owned by MKCC, of which there are approximately 400, have fallen into disrepair such as Portishead Road playpark in Tattenhoe. These facilities are vital to the community, allowing our children to safely enjoy the outdoors with their families and friends. It is thus unacceptable that so many are in desperate need of some urgent repair and renovation.
MKCC have dedicated just £485,000 to play park maintenance for the coming council year 2023/24. The maintenance backlog has resulted from this consistent lack of funding provided by MKCC and the administration’s frequent habit of providing this minimal funding to their own favourite or potentially politically advantageous wards. This is demonstrated within the MKCC draft capital programme where every play park included falls under these categories. For the leaders of the so-called Progressive Alliance leaders of MKCC to allow these community facilities to be judged on political rather than safety priorities is shameful and is yet another example of the council administration targeting short term maintenance patches to avoid accepting that much broader and long term investment and strategy is needed.
Cllr Shazna Muzammil adds "At a time when our community needs safe and accessible outdoor spaces more than ever, it is unacceptable that so many of our play parks have fallen into disrepair. The dedicated funding for play park maintenance is insufficient, and the current approach to patch maintenance is unsustainable. These play parks are not only important for our children's social development, but they are also extremely beneficial to their mental health. We are a growing city, but we seem to be ignoring basic necessities in our communities and I feel the Labour led council has missed out an opportunity to prioritise what is hugely important in this year’s budget. This is disappointing, unacceptable, and irresponsible.”
Thus, MK Conservative Group are requesting the administration commit to surveying all play parks and reporting clearly the extent and cost of renovation required to maintain them all to the same high standard, regardless of whatever parish or ward they are sited.
Following the traumas of the pandemic all our young people deserve a safe place to enjoy the fresh air, socialise with their peers and make the most of the numerous green spaces that MK has to offer.