It has been a busy time behind the scenes since the appalling arson attack on the boardwalk on the Acres last summer. The Parish Council had made all the preparations for a contractor to start work, but despite protracted dialogue, our insurers were regrettably unable to cover all of the costs of a restored section of boardwalk.
Fortunately Stafford Borough Council agreed to a Parish Council request to use some of the Section 106 budget (from recent housing development) to offset the short-fall. This Section 106 payment is a contribution to the local community that developers often have to make, as part of their planning permission, towards open-space amenity use. This particular sum comes from the £67,430 made available from Bellway Homes for the current Lowfield lane development.
Consent to contribute Section 106 money towards the boardwalk did not come until late November, which unfortunately was too late for work to start on a very boggy Acres floodplain. However, work will commence once the site starts to dry out – hopefully in early spring.
Section 106 funding from this pot has also been used to revamp the Chippy Jumps facility opposite Gnosall Fish Bar. This BMX bike track was created in 2010 with support from the late Cllr Roger Kelly. However, the facility is not as well used by local children as it once was, so the Parish Council decided to enhance the site by adding a suite of new play equipment – including a 25m zip wire, a slide, seesaw overhead rotator, basket swing, multi activity centre and adventure trail. Hopefully, the BMX track will remain around the perimeter.
Preliminary ground work started before Christmas, but was put on hold as worsening winter weather made ground conditions too boggy. January proved to be even wetter still, but the installation should be completed for spring and it should prove to be a really popular recreational facility for our local children (and perhaps for energetic parents too).
Just as this newsletter was going to print, the Parish Council was informed by Staffordshire Police that due to a lack of forensic evidence, no prosecutions or further action will be brought against the suspected perpetrators. This will come as a huge disappointment to the local community, particularly as the police investigation took so long to complete and appeared to have gathered substantial evidence for a conviction.
The following images show the various stages of construction of the Chippy Jumps facility