Llandovery Playgrounds at Risk of Closure
Children in Llandovery face the potential loss of their playgrounds.
Castle Fields Playground and the adjacent Skate Park, Maesglas Playground and Green Lodge Playground are owned by Carmarthenshire County Council — which is trying to offload parks and playgrounds to save on maintenance costs.
The Llandovery play areas have been offered to the town council, which feels unable to take them on for the same reason – lack of money.
Stephen Carter, clerk to Llandovery Town Council, said members would have to raise the annual precept by about 25% just to bring the Castle Fields Playground up to the standard at which they could obtain public liability insurance cover for it. “We would have to pay around £10,000 for safe surfaces under play equipment,” he said.
Llandovery and eight other town and community councils have so far turned down the chance to take over parks and playgrounds under the county council’s asset transfer programme. Discussing the matter at a meeting on Monday, members of the Executive Board agreed to try and re-engage these councils in discussions to see if ways forward can be negotiated.
Mr Carter was not optimistic. “I can’t see a negotiated way ahead if there is a cost to the town council,” he said.
Llandovery’s big recreation area at Castle Fields, where the annual Sheep Festival is held, has found a group willing to take it over. The Llandovery Community Sports Association, created by Llanwrda Cricket Club, Llandovery College, Llandovery Junior Football Club and Llandovery Association Football Club, agreed to take on the field and in return the association receives two years’ worth of maintenance costs and a grant of up to £10,000 for improvements.
But with both the county council and town council anxious to avoid the costs of ownership, the future prospects for the three playgrounds and the skate park are much less assured. If no deal is done, the land could be sold.