Darwen Playground to get £100,000 makeover

Blackburn with Darwen Council has announced that the playground at Blacksnape will undergo a full renovation.

The money has been secured as part of a Section 106 agreement with McDermott Homes – the developers building off nearby Ellison Fold Way.

Councillor Phil Riley – Blackburn with Darwen’s Executive Member for Growth and Development and the Deputy Chair of Darwen Town Deal, said:

I’m really pleased to be able to reveal the plans to transform the playground at Blacksnape.

The next five years will see tens of millions of pounds invested in to transforming Darwen as part of the Town Deal which is just incredible.

During our consultation on plans for how that money could be spent, residents’ shared how their pride for the town’s parks, but investing in playgrounds came through as a strong priority for Dawen.

We’ve listened to residents and while the Town Deal rules didn’t include investing in projects like this, the Council has been able to commit the full £100,000 from the Section 106 contributions at Ellison Fold Way. This will pave the way for a fantastic new playground at Blacksnape.

As part of the Town Deal, plans are also being looked at to make the most of Darwen’s rolling countryside as part of a new ‘Destination Darwen’ scheme.

This would include improved connections linking the town centre, residential neighbourhoods, parks and the moors.

The trails are aimed at encouraging more active travel – particularly walking and cycling – and outdoor exercise options for residents as well as encouraging new visitors to help boost the local economy.

And, this month an extra £1.5m was announced as part of the 2022/2023 budget for the Council’s Environment and Highways Services too.

The extra funding focuses on what residents have said is important to them and will be used to create five new park keeper roles – including one for both Bold Venture Park and Whitehall Park in Darwen – a boost to the number of litter pickers, an additional driver to empty litterbins, a new educational officer and more.

Councillor Riley added:

This is a really exciting time for Darwen and we’re focusing on the things we know are important to residents.

We’re incredibly lucky to be surrounded by fantastic green, open spaces in the borough and we want to do everything we can to make the most of them.

We’d love to see a fantastic playground in every park, but sadly we’ve faced crippling funding cuts over the last decade which have hit hard.

However, by using funding like that offered through Section 106 agreements, we can continue to improve and I know the new playground at Blacksnape will be a much welcome boost.

Section 106 agreements are agreements between councils and developers linked to planning permission to fund local infrastructure needs such as play areas, schools and roads.

At Ellison Fold Way, McDermott Homes is building 343 new homes, including 67 affordable houses.

In total, the scheme will provide £1.5 million in phased infrastructure contributions, including the play area improvements plus around £640,000 for highways improvements and £740,000 towards a future primary school extension.

Now the money has been secured for the play area, designs for how the playground could look will be developed with work expected to start later in the year.

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