A playground which was so badly damaged by vandals it had to be closed over the school holidays is now back in business with big ambitions to expand.
Salford City Council was forced to close the George Thomas play area in Prince’s Park, Irlam after local teenagers ripped up the rubber safety surface in August.
The council has now laid a new £20,000 sand filled carpet to replace the rubber surface and re-open the playground – but isn’t stopping there.
It’s allocated a further £35,000 to support local community groups who are trying to raise up to £100,000 to transform the play area.
Councillor David Lancaster, lead member for environment and community safety, said: “We are working with a group of local people and the local friends of the parks groups who, like us, want to see the play equipment replaced and upgraded. Any new equipment can easily be fitted into the new surface which is more resilient to damage.
“They’re bidding for grants and organising events, including a Christmas market and Santa dash in the park on Sunday 10 December. We are looking for funds to match whatever they can raise because this is a very popular and very well used play area. We hope to get the replacement equipment in place by next summer.”
Councillor Tracy Kelly, lead member for housing and neighbourhoods added: “It was a huge shame it had to be closed over the summer because of the damage but thankfully those involved were caught and have been dealt with.”
Princes Park was donated to the city in Victorian times by the late George Thomas and contains a unique remnant of the original course of the River Irwell which is now an important habitat for a range of local wildlife.