Play scheme is progressing well

From left, Hayley Brown, Barnabas Safe and Sound manager, Sara Parker-Clark, Isos Housing community involvement team leader, and Stobhill ward county councillor Ian Lindley.
From left, Hayley Brown, Barnabas Safe and Sound manager, Sara Parker-Clark, Isos Housing community involvement team leader, and Stobhill ward county councillor Ian Lindley.
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Work to transform an area of green space into a much-needed community play facility in the Stobhill area of Morpeth is making great progress with the completion of the project’s latest phase.

A multi-use games area (MUGA) has already been installed at the site, located behind the Barnabas Stobhill Centre on Ninth Avenue.

Now the car park has been completed by Northumberland County Council and footpaths have been installed – creating a circular route around the field and providing improved access to the new play area.

The £165,000 scheme is now in its final stages.

Over the coming weeks, shrubs and small trees will be planted around the site, seats and picnic benches will be installed and there will also be some remedial work to one of the paths, which is subject to flooding.

Isos Housing owns the site on which the scheme is being developed and it has agreed that the land can be used without charge.

It has also pledged £57,000 to upgrade the existing play park on the site and this work is due to start on Monday. Features will include swings, slides and climbing walls, a fireman’s pole and nets.

Development of the site was first proposed eight years ago as part of a detailed regeneration project for Stobhill commissioned by ward county councillor Ian Lindley and from which the Stobhill Stakeholders’ Regeneration Group was formed.

In 2014, a consultation exercise was carried out by the Groundwork organisation after Isos secured £13,500 in funding from the Homes and Communities Agency.

Coun Lindley said: “This has been a scheme close to my heart for many years and I’m delighted to see that the finishing line is in sight, just in time for the lighter nights and warmer weather when the young people will be able to benefit from it most.

“The MUGA is already proving particularly popular and it is being used for a range of sports such as basketball and football, which can be played in a safe, purpose-built environment.

“I know the local community is looking forward to the upgrade to the new play area.”

The Stobhill Field Project is a partnership between Isos, the county council, local charity Barnabas Safe and Sound, Morpeth Town Council, members of the regeneration group and Active Northumberland.

The county council has contributed the majority of funding for the scheme, including £10,000 from the local improvement scheme budget of Coun Lindley.

Cabinet member for local services, Coun Ian Swithenbank said: ”This is a great partnership scheme that will provide a fantastic new play area, which I am sure will be well-loved and used by the local community.”

Sara Parker-Clark, community involvement team leader at Isos, said: “We’re delighted to be part of this project and it’s great to see how it has started to breathe new life into a largely unused area in the heart of Stobhill.”