Framlingham: Council stands firm over play equipment row

Parents and children in Framlingham had opposed the removal of play equipment.

Parents and children in Framlingham had opposed the removal of play equipment. - Credit: Sarah Lucy brown

Suffolk councillors have agreed to stand firm in opposing the removal of play equipment from their town.

Framlingham Town Council’s planning committee resolved unanimously to maintain its position on the Castle Brooks play area, which two neighbouring residents have called upon to be removed.

The complainants argue that the birds nest swing and fencing has been built closer to their home than regulations permit, causing disturbance and devaluing property values.

Town councillors objected to the removal application at a meeting last month, having supported the play area as a valuable community asset.

Following the council’s decision, one of the complainants wrote in requesting that it withdraw its opposition, which they claimed was based on incorrect information.

The letter’s author claimed the fence would attract dogs and the park would be used by teenagers.

However, councillors at Monday’s planning meeting rejected the claims and agreed to retain their opposition to the proposal.

Councillor Bob Roberts said the letter was “totally wrong” and highlighted signs on the park that clearly indicated the park was for accompanied children aged five to nine – not teenagers as the complainant claimed. “I don’t think there are any grounds for removal,” he added.

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Plans for the park, which formed part of Hopkins Homes’ housing development, have been publicly available for a number of years.

Councillor Kevin Coe said the complainant, who bought their home neighbouring the site after the plans had been drawn up, “should have known full well the play area was there”. “Surely in my mind it’s a case of buyer beware,” he said.

Mr Coe also praised Hopkins Homes for “providing a good standard of play equipment” and said it was not the company’s concern if the neighbour did not approve.

Town clerk Eileen Coe explained after the meeting that the council had been pushing for a play area at Castle Brooks “for many years” and said it was well used by families.

“Morally, it would be completely wrong to remove it,” she said.

The application will be heard at Suffolk Coastal District Council’s planning meeting on July 23.