£115k Benwick play area opens

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Residents and community leaders have celebrated the opening of their new play area, after years of campaigning and fundraising.

Around £115,000 has been spent on the new facility in Benwick, which was formally opened by district council leaders and pupils from the village school.

Parish council chairman Mark Chapman said: “I have been on the parish council for nearly 10 years and in that time we have planned and saved and chased funds, but it is finally here.

“I hope it will be used by all groups in the village and respected and looked after for years to come.”

Peter Murphy, Fenland Council cabinet member for parks and open spaces, added: “This was a very ambitious project and a lot of work went into securing the funding for it. Now villagers can enjoy using the fantastic new equipment all year round.”

The play park, designed and installed by specialist manufacturer HAGS, offers a multi-use games area, zip-wire, swings, roundabout and seesaw, along with new seating and landscaped areas.

Around £3,000 was raised by the parish council, with most of the funding being provided by WREN and through financial contributions from planning applications. The district council also provided more than £13,000.

Helen Sephton-Pike, area manager for HAGS, said the opening had been delayed by torrential rain flooding the area when installation began in January. A subsequent lack of rain then meant grass seed wouldn’t grow.

She said: “It was very frustrating but now it is finally open, and it’s so wonderful to see the children enjoying it.”

She also presented cheques of £125 to the village school and Benwick Scouts.