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ANGER at seesawing fortunes of play area

(August 14, 2010)
Warminster children face the 'cruellest cut of all' as the coalition government is set to force the local council to axe a £50,000 plan to improve Queensway recreation ground.
The future of the scheme, being driven forward by local resident Paul Macdonald, would have added up to eight pieces of modern play equipment including a zip-wire.
Nearly all of the money was to be provided from the government's Playbuilder scheme after Paul and a small team of volunteers had completed a public consultation exercise .
"We were all set to go in July and just setting off with leaflets when the news of the cruelllest cut of all those announced so far was e-mailed to me by the council," explains Paul.
"This is not the first time our hopes have been dashed. Before that Wiltshire Council was told that the money had been 'de-ring-fenced'.
"We had to see what they were going to do. They decided the project could go forward."
Paul presented his ideas and action plan to a council play advisor and the consultation exercise was agreed. The council provided the leaflets.
On July 14th government minister Michael Gove MP once again put the scheme in jeopardy in a letter to local authorities.
'Capital grant that is not yet spent...may be retained by the Department (for education).' he wrote.
"There is now total confusion and growing anger that our scheme that would encourage adventurous play amongst eight to thirteen-year-olds is now subject to Con-Dem spin." says former councillor Paul Macdonald.
"In a 'high importance' e-mail sent out by a government officer they are clearly trying to limit the bad press they are rightly getting."
The message reads: 'I just wanted to let you all know that no final decisions have been made yet regarding play capital funding for this financial year.


'We appreciate that the press coverage will have raised local anxieties, but the situation remains the same as that set out in the 15th July letter to local authorities.


'There is no new information or update on the exercise that we currently undertaking - we are still reviewing the info authorities have sent us and still intend to come back to you by the end of August as the July letter said we would.'


"I am going to go-ahead with this and dare the Tories and Lib Dems to take the axe to it and the other schemes under way all across the country," says Paul.

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