New play area angers Petworth residents

Residents in front of the Hampers Green play area
Residents in front of the Hampers Green play area

PETWORTH residents are up in arms after waking to find a new play area being built in front of their houses.

Tracey Mawby of Old Pond Mews at Hampers Green said she and her neighbours were aware that Petworth Town Council planned to replace playground equipment on the Hampers Green playground and they did not object.

But they were not prepared for the scale of the new play park, the fact it had been moved directly in front of their homes and they are furious they were not consulted.

They say the play area is needed for Hampers Green children, but they are concerned it is now too close to the busy road to be safe.

“We all woke up last week and found workmen erecting a metal fence around it.

“Now we discover there is great big structure they are calling Petworth Towers, as well as a zip wire and all sorts of other equipment and it’s all directly in front of our homes.”

The play equipment has been moved closer to homes: “We want to know why in heaven’s name they have put the equipment where it floods,” added Tracey.

She has lived in her Old Pond Mews home since it was built and she paid a premium for a house with a good view of the ground: “This has now been ruined and it will affect the value of my home,” she said.

Neighbour Bob Waterman said: “I don’t object to the play area, but no one consulted us and it’s too close to the road. The speed of the cars is phenomena, I would not be happy for my four year old daughter to play there.”

Another neighbour Dan Figg added: “I have no objection to a play area but this is quite close to the houses and close to the road and we were not consulted. The first I knew of it was when I got back from holiday to see it being built.”

Chris Till said: “In torrential rain the whole area floods and becomes a lake. They should have kept it where it was before.”

Chairman of the town council Chris Kemp said he was proud the park area was being provided: “We are aware that Tracey Mawby is unhappy and has rallied a couple of neighbours who also live in the one bed flats on the estate.

“This project has been discussed in the public domain for more than a year and various press releases and other consultation has taken place in this time span.

“A petition was undertaken by residents in autumn last year which asked for the equipment we are installing with full consultation with the Leconfield Estate.

“It is unfortunate she feels she wasn’t consulted as we could not have been more transparent.

“We have received so much positive feedback but unfortunately a couple of residents are making more noise than the ones who are delighted.”

At a full meeting of the town council last Thursday members heard the play area did not need planning permission. Only structures above four metres required it and the tallest structure was 3.8 metres.

The town clerk said Lord Egremont had told the town council he would be honoured to formally open the play area.

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