Play area plan for old market site unveiled

By Ian Dipple Friday 01 August 2014 Updated: 01/08 09:15

THIS is how the former market area could be transformed under an ambitious plan to mark the new town’s 50th anniversary.

Redditch Town Centre Partnership has been given the go-ahead by councillors to create an outdoor play barn in the space at the back of Debenham’s.

This design gives an indication of how the scheme could look. As well as a range of play equipment, there would also be some free to use outdoor exercise equipment for parents or other relatives to use while watching their children play.

Under the deal the TCP - a voluntary group made up of business people and others with an interest in the town centre - will be leased the land by Redditch Borough Council at a peppercorn rent. The group will then have six months to raise the £110,000 needed to complete the project. If it fails the land will be returned to the council.

The scheme will be funded through a combination of sponsorship, grants and crowdfunding. It will be free for people to use and it is hoped will encourage businesses to set-up in some of the nearby retail units and revitalise the area which has been vacant since the market moved into its current location eight years ago.

Previous ideas for the space have included an events area and a disabled car park but both failed to win support from council bosses. It had been feared the idea would be scuppered by the sale of nearby Threadneedle House but officers have confirmed the site is not being marketed with the building and the creation of a play barn would not deter potential buyers.

Formal approval for the idea was granted at a meeting of the executive committee on Tuesday (July 29).

Coun Debbie Taylor said: “This is a win-win situation for Redditch, young people and families in the area. It’s an area that’s not utilised and this will be a great asset going forward. I hope people do back this and the money is raised because the 50 year legacy is really important.”

Ken Williams, chairman of Redditch TCP, said the play barn would be an ideal way of creating something permanent to mark the 50th anniversary of new town status.

“I am delighted the council has given the TCP an opportunity to bring the vacant market area into use as a children’s urban play area and adult exercise zone. Now we have to work hard to secure the funding to make this happen.”

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