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RE11  Criteria for Children’s Play Facilities  Policy

The Local Planning Authority will need to be satisfied that areas specifically intended to cater for children's play are appropriate in terms of their siting, scale and design. Proposals should in particular minimise the potential for disturbance to adjacent property, enable informal supervision from the surrounding area and provide for safe pedestrian access.

Development proposals which involve the loss of an existing facility for children's play will be required to make appropriate replacement provision elsewhere within the locality, unless the facility was not previously available for use by the general public.

Reasoned justification :

9.39 Good provision for children's play is an important part of the Wirral Leisure Strategy. National planning policy also requires developers to provide suitable areas for children's play within the layout of proposals for new housing development. While Policy GR6 reinforces this general requirement for all new housing schemes above thirty-five units, it does not specify the precise form that this provision should take. Policy RE11, therefore, sets out the criteria that the Local Planning Authority will use in order to assess the acceptability of areas intended to provide for children's play.

9.40 Provision for children's play can comprise a mix of informal play space and more formal areas including play equipment. In both cases, the principal concern of the Local Planning Authority will be to secure a design and layout which will minimise the opportunity for nuisance or disturbance to neighbouring property while retaining adequate supervision from the surrounding area. This requirement comes from past experience which indicates that the poor design of play areas in relation to the layout of adjacent property can often cause problems for residents arising from the subsequent abuse of the site, mainly by older children. These difficulties are heightened when play areas are located out of sight from main frontages and thoroughfares.

9.41 Policy RE11 also provides for the replacement of play areas and facilities which are lost as a result of a development proposal. In line with the intentions of the Wirral Leisure Strategy, it is important to retain a good and comprehensive network of sites for children's play, which is well co-ordinated with needs arising from the pattern of family housing development within the locality. The only exception is where play equipment was provided as an essentially private facility, such as on land associated with a public house or restaurant.