Pay and play activities to stop as Government cuts continue to affect the district

​Date:13/03/2017

Ref: PR8500

Activities at two of the district's parks and a golf course will close next month as the Council is forced to make yet more savings in response to Government cuts.

These latest changes were included in Wakefield Council's 2017/18 Budget, which was approved last month, and needs to deliver savings of over £15m - on top of the £144m already wiped off the Council's finances.

The cuts will affect 'pay and play' activities at Pontefract Park, which will see the golf and fishing facilities close, Wakefield's Thornes Park, where the tennis, public bowls, putting and golf will stop and Springmill Golf Course, in Ossett, where the golf provision will cease.

These activities will close from 1 April 2017.

People can still access these areas but they will no longer be looked after to the standard needed for sport. The tennis nets will remain up at Thornes Park but will not be maintained or replaced.

Wakefield Council is currently working with a partner to try and set up a fishing and environment school in Pontefract Park. However, until this is set up, fishing will not be allowed because this activity needs to be regulated to protect the fish, other wildlife and the environment.

Cllr Maureen Cummings Cabinet Member for Environment and Communities said: "With such huge cuts to our budget we are now at a point where our services are under threat, with the majority being reduced and some, like our pay and play activities, stopping all together.

"I understand that some people will be disappointed that these activities can no longer be provided by the Council, but we are having to make some very difficult decisions. Looking after the district's green spaces and parks is very important to us and we will continue to do everything we can to maintain them for people to enjoy."

The Council is now considering the future options for each of the areas affected to ensure they are put to the best possible use, with the budget available. This may include some of the sites becoming more naturalised or being used for tree planting.

Cllr Cummings added: "We are now looking at how we can make best use of the areas which are used for the pay and play activities. However, we would welcome conversations with any community groups who may be interested in working with us."

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