Cost sees axe fall at Todmorden playground

Empty: Dad-of-two Aidan Hemson at the play area site at Keats Avenue, Todmorden
Empty: Dad-of-two Aidan Hemson at the play area site at Keats Avenue, Todmorden

Shocked parents were appalled to discover that play equipment has been removed from their local play area, with no signs of it being replaced.

Dad-of-two Aidan Hemson’s son and daughter used the play area at Keats Avenue, Todmorden, along with around 30 other children from the “Poets’ Estate” which also takes in Tennyson Avenue and Shakespeare Avenue.

Mr Hemson said a team from Calderdale Council arrived one day this month and removed the equipment. On inquiring, he was told there was no money to replace them, although children had been asked to pick out new equipment. He was told there was a larger park to use in the vicinity - presumably Centre Vale across the other side of town, he said.

“It’s appalling that Calderdale have done this. They rolled up and cut them down. It has been well used by children and there is nothing else there. My two, who are five and six, have been asking me what they are going to replace it with. Are they expecting them to play on the roads?”,” said Aidan, adding he had heard other smaller playgrounds had also been affected.

Calderdale Council Cabinet member for Neighbourhoods and Communities, Coun Susan Press, said: “The play equipment in the small play area at Keats Avenue had to be removed after our annual external inspection of the site identified corrosion of the steel frame of the swings.

“This meant it was unsafe for the swings to remain on site, leaving the area with a just seesaw. The cost of maintaining the site with only one piece of equipment was unfortunately unviable.

“In 2016, we worked with members of the local community to try and form a group which would be able to apply for grant funding. We are more than happy to continue this work with any group that forms in the future and offer our advice to help them access external funding.”