Concerns over upkeep of play areas on Higham Ferrers estate

A broken gate leading to one of the play areas
A broken gate leading to one of the play areas

Concerns have been raised about the upkeep of play areas on an estate in Higham Ferrers.

There are several play areas on the Larkin Gardens housing estate and complaints have been made about the condition of some of the play equipment and fencing surrounding them.

This play equipment has a piece missing

This play equipment has a piece missing

But despite the concerns being raised with several authorities, it is not known who will be making the repairs.

While Persimmon Homes owns and maintains the play areas, it says it is in talks with both East Northants Council and Higham Ferrers Town Council about adoption of them.

If they adopted them, responsibility would fall to them but this is not currently the case.

One grandfather contacted the Northants Telegraph about the play areas and said: “I regularly visit my daughter and grandson in Larkin Gardens, Higham Ferrers, and we often visit one of the four play areas on the estate.

Some of the play equipment

Some of the play equipment

“But I noticed that two of the areas have poorly maintained equipment and perimeter fencing where youngsters are at risk of injuring themselves.

“I first brought this to the attention of a councillor and Higham town clerk in the middle of May but as yet nothing has been done to rectify the faults, the main faults being the damaged bridge where a child could break a limb or the loose fence panel, missing gate and poorly maintained equipment on the grassy area.”

A spokesman for Higham Ferrers Town Council said: “The play areas in the Larkin Gardens estate are owned and maintained by Persimmon Homes.

“Any concerns about their condition are passed onto Persimmon Homes for their attention.

Some of the broken play equipment

Some of the broken play equipment

“The town council has been communicating with Persimmon Homes and East Northamptonshire Council in order to negotiate the adoption of the play areas within the Higham Ferrers boundary.

“A site meeting has been held where discussions were held about the work required to bring the areas up to a standard where the council would adopt them.

“As in all cases when adopting play areas from developers, adoption will only happen if they are in a good condition and a commuted sum for future maintenance is handed over.”

The spokesman added that there are four play areas in Larkin Gardens, with two in Higham Ferrers, one in Rushden and one on the boundary between the two towns.

A spokesman for East Northants Council (ENC) said: “As stated by Higham Ferrers Town Council (HFTC), the maintenance of the play equipment is currently the responsibility of Persimmon Homes.

“We’re working with Persimmons and HFTC to resolve these issues which we’re aware are of concern to residents and park users.

“An ENC planning enforcement officer recently met with HFTC and the new landscaping officer from Persimmons who was furnished with a list of repair and remove items.”

A spokesman for Persimmon Homes Midlands said: “Persimmon are in talks with both East Northants and Higham Town Council regarding the adoption of the play areas.

“The issues raised at the meeting are being addressed and discussions are ongoing until the play areas are adopted.”