Following the closure and absorption of a charity invested in local recreation, Bere Ferrers Parish Council is set to invest in the redevelopment of two parks on the Bere peninsula.
The charity BARP – Bere Alston Recreation Parks – is currently in the process of winding down, with the parish council to take on their assets, which are set to be channelled into the upkeep of Sarah Park and the Down Recreation Park.
Head of Bere Ferrers Parish Council and ward borough councillor Peter Crozier said: ‘We’re very disappointed that BARP is closing its doors, it’s been such a good service to our community but sadly no one else has come forward to run it so it’s time to call it a day. There is always work to be done and equipment to be replaced with our parks. We recently agreed a £3,900 contract for repairs and replacements in Sarah Park and this should be completed in the next six weeks.
‘The safety and upkeep of our parks is very important; over time equipment wears out and can dwindle in popularity. We always put £1,000 in the budget for this area every year given how hungry it is for redevelopment but we don’t want to raise the council tax precept any futher. We hope these planned renovations will be a long-lasting upgrade.’
Parish councillor David Pengelly said: ‘The closure of BARP sees us take on £6,000 of theirs which has been ring-fenced solely for redevelopment of the play parks. We’re also trying to top up this fund with a £10,000 lottery grant. We’re in the process of applying for this right now and should know if we’ve been awarded it, and how much, in up to four months time.’
‘Since covid time, BARP has been dormant for different reasons so no money has been spent on the parks. I’m a trustee of the charity; we’ve simply run out of steam. There were only three of us running the charity, two being mums with full time jobs, so we’ve decided to close down.
‘Three councillors, including myself, have been at these parks recently and identified works that need doing, for example, there are weeds growing up through the surfacing and a fence which is falling down. It’s down to the sub committee of the parish council to meet and make decisions, prioritise and go from there.
‘We’re also looking to our local residents for their suggestions as to how any money we receive can best be spent – we’ve already receieved a variety.’
Since asking for suggestions on local social media groups, popular responses Cllr Pengelly has received from peninsula residents have included a slide at Sarah Park and a skate park with a shelter at the recreation field.
He added: ‘If we do have a total of £16,000, unfortuantely this won’t buy a lot in today’s money so this will be a case of minor improvements. For now, we know both parks are safe as we conduct monthly inspections, it’s just about doing as much as we can with what we have going forward.’