£200,000 investment announced for Darwen playgrounds

Published 07th Mar 2024

Blackburn with Darwen Council has announced that two playgrounds in Darwen are set to be transformed.

Just a week after officially unveiling the impressive new playgrounds at Witton Park, the council has revealed new plans for Bold Venture Park and Whitehall Park too.

Each playground will benefit from a £100,000 makeover with a further £100,000 committed for repairs to play equipment right across the borough.

The new investment has been agreed as part of the Council’s budget for the next year and designs are already well underway.

Blackburn with Darwen Council’s Executive Member for Environment and Operations, Councillor Jim Smith, said:

“You only have to look at just how busy the new playgrounds have been at Witton Park and what the response has been there to see how much they are valued by our residents.

“Sadly though, due to budget cuts, we’ve just not had the money that we would have liked to have had to spend on our much-loved parks and playgrounds, which is incredibly frustrating for us all.

“We’ve been creative and looked at new ways of funding improvements and the new playgrounds at Witton and Blacksnape, in Darwen, have been paid for using contributions from new housing developments.

“Now, we are really pleased to be able to pledge £300,000 of Council funding over the next year for new playgrounds at Bold Venture Park and Whitehall Park in Darwen and for much-needed maintenance work elsewhere.

“This is superb news a real step in the right direction.”

The Council is also working on new bids for £20m of funding for Darwen through the Government’s Long Term Plan for Towns scheme, this could bring in additional funding for the parks.

And the paths through Darwen’s picturesque parks will be improved as part of the Darwen Town Deal’s ‘Destination Darwen’ scheme – better linking them to the rolling moors and iconic Jubilee Tower.

Celebrating the news for Bold Venture Park, Councillor Brian Taylor, said:

“We’re incredibly pleased to be able to announce our plans for a new playground here at Bold Venture.

“It’s a hugely popular playground – so much so that it has worn out over the years because of the sheer amount of use it’s had.

“We’ve campaigned on behalf of our residents for this much-needed investment and are thrilled that the Council has committed this new funding which will help make a real difference.

“We’ll have a playground here we can all be proud of and we can’t wait to see the work start!”

At Whitehall, further funding has also been secured for a new cycle track around the new playground – similar to the popular one installed at Witton Park.

It’ll be a perfect addition for those new to riding a bike and those wanting to build their confidence.

Lucy Derbyshire from Save Darwen’s Playgrounds is excited about the plans.

She said:

“We know that playgrounds are incredibly important – for encouraging children to enjoy time outdoors, for their physical development and to help support their mental health too.

“Along with the Friends of Whitehall Park, we’ve been passionately campaigning for new playgrounds, here and for the rest of Darwen, and it’s fantastic to hear that both Whitehall Park and Bold Venture Park will be benefitting from £200,000 of new investment.

“We want all children to have access to the very best possible facilities and we want to thank all those involved in helping make this happen.

“We have lots of good ideas of how to make these new playgrounds suit children of all abilities and are look forward to working with the Council on their plans.”

In Darwen, work will also soon start on doubling the size of the youth centre – part of £8m plans to improve facilities for youngsters across Blackburn with Darwen.

You can read more on the Long Term Plan for Towns and the £100m Darwen Town Deal in the new edition of The Shuttle Extra magazine which will be landing through your door soon.

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