At Monday’s meeting (2 March) of the full Town Council, Councillors agreed in principle to take over ownership and management of the new Play Area and associated Public Open Space for the Rabley Wood View development.
The alternative was for the developers – Green Square to set up a management company, which raised concerns, particularly amongst the residents of the Rabley Wood area about responsibility for maintenance and ultimate accountability. The developers are duty bound to provide an equivalent (or better) public open space including a play area and ‘multi-use games area’ as a condition of the planning approval. But once installed it has to be managed and maintained to ensure that it is useable and viable.
Whilst the principle of taking over the play area, ‘multi use games area’ and the immediately adjacent open space as well, they were clear that certain safeguards had to be met before any transfer could be agreed.
Issues of concern include drainage – the land needs to be drained and as yet no satisfactory drainage plans appear to have been submitted. This relates to the entire area, including the Public Open Space, all of which must be available for use throughout the year in compensation for the previous space currently under development.
Councillors were clear that they would only take the land over if there were no danger of future liability, including possible pollution into the River Og and that a ‘commuted sum’ be forthcoming from the developers which would cover such eventualities, maintenance and future capital replacement costs for equipment. Negotiations will now commence.