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Acle play area cash row

PUBLISHED: 15:02 04 February 2010 | UPDATED: 16:31 30 June 2010

TRUSTEES have been accused of mismanaging a village recreation centre during a heated discussion of how to get urgent repairs to its play area.

Acle parish councillor Lana Hempsall slammed the running of Acle Recreation Centre in Bridewell Lane on Monday as it emerged substantial investment is needed to bring its facilities up to scratch.

TRUSTEES have been accused of mismanaging a village recreation centre during a heated discussion of how to get urgent repairs to its play area.

Acle parish councillor Lana Hempsall slammed the running of Acle Recreation Centre in Bridewell Lane on Monday as it emerged substantial investment is needed to bring its facilities up to scratch.

Her comments came after centre trustee and parish councillor Nigel Law asked the council to discuss what to do about the play area, as £20,000 is needed to refurbish the equipment, including the swings, seesaw and special rubber floor tiles. The centre does not have the money to pay for the repairs.

Cllr Hempsall said: “As a recreation centre, you should have considered your assets as a whole and set aside money for the play area. As trustees, you have not managed the recreation centre properly.

“The situation at the moment is that you have not put money aside for the play area. You have not budgeted for it and you have to take responsibility for it.”

Mr Law said both the centre and its car park needed a facelift to meet health and safety standards as both had suffered the effects of wear and tear and consequently the play area had dropped down the list of priorities.

However, he denied the centre was being mismanaged and asked Cllr Hempsall to retract her remarks, adding the expenses were inevitable to deal with the effects of ageing on the centre's facilities. As much as £50,000 has already been spent upgrading the building to meet health and safety standards.

“I don't think it is fair to say the trustees have mismanaged the running of the recreation centre,” Mr Law said.

The council resolved a feasibility study should be carried out to look into moving the play area away from its existing site to a piece of land behind the Methodist Hall.

Inspectors from safety charity RoSPA deemed the play area to be of medium risk following an inspection in July, which discovered rust on the seesaw, swings, climbing frame and roundabouts and moss growing through the special rubber floor tiles.

The grading meant there was no immediate danger to children using the play equipment, but there could be in the long term, unless repair work was carried out.

The council has set aside £7,000 in its budget to be spent on the play area.

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