£15,000 for makeover of village playground
PLAY facilities for children in a dale village are to be improved after parish councillors made a successful bid for cash.
Almost £15,500 is to be spent on a new zip wire and basket swing for the Stainmore Close play area, in Startforth. The money came from a section 106 fund – cash provided by developer Kier Homes to improve community facilities as part of planning permission to build a huge new housing estate on former prison land at Deerbolt.
At their December meeting, councillors agreed to “get a move on” with the play area work. Clerk Judith Mashiter said she would contact the firm chosen to provide the equipment.
The meeting was told that Covid and weather permitting, the new kit could be installed by March. Chairman Cllr Pat Estall said the successful bid for cash had been a “nice cherry on top of the cake”.
Members were also told the parish council was also closer to finding out the details of its lease agreement with Durham County Council for the Stainmore Close play area.
Ms Mashiter explained: “Several times over the past few years, I have tried to get to the bottom of the tenancy that the parish council has with Durham County Council for that play area.
“The latest paperwork I have is two tenancy agreements from Teesdale District Council prior to 2009.
“When Durham unitary authority was formed, Teesdale District Council assets were transferred to them. Durham County Council has not issued any rent demands for that play area since 2009 and Startforth Parish Council has not paid any rent.”
However, the parish council finally received a bill for £50 for the period April 2020 to March 2021.
Ms Mashiter said this may have come about because she had been asking for the situation to be clarified as the parish council was planning to put new equipment at Stainmore Close.
“It looks like £50 per year going forward. We can build that into the budget,” she said.