Worries over new play area

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A new play area is causing controversy in Chorley as children are peering into residents’ private properties.

People living close to the new climbing frame on Great Meadow in Astley Village have complained of children looking into their back gardens from the top of the structure.

One man even accused youngsters of throwing stones into his garden.

Coun Mark Perks, who represents Astley Village at Chorley Borough Council, said: “The height of the equipment is causing some real concerns, as it allows those using it to see into surrounding properties.

“People are unhappy, and they want it to be removed or at least lowered, because it does not respect their privacy.”

He added: “They also want something to be done to prevent young people playing football or using the mounds as a launch area for ball games against their fences.

“They just feel upset and ignored.”

Bev Menheniott, whose garden backs onto the field where the play area is, said she and her neighbours are also concerned about anti-social behaviour issues.

The mum-of-three said: “At the moment, there is only a ‘spider’ climbing frame in the play area, and the rest is just turf.

“I worry that with all that open space, it may attract young people who will stay out late and drink in the park.

“My neighbour also told me he’s had trouble with kids throwing stones in his back garden whilst on the climbing frame.”

Another resident, who does not wish to be named, added: “We have a lot of elderly residents in our community and they feel threatened.

“They all live alone and don’t know where to turn as the children are becoming a nuisance. It really is becoming a growing problem.”

The Astley Village improvements are part of a national scheme called Green Spaces for People - a partnership project between housing groups Places for People, The Riverside Group and Peabody.

The project has been funded through a £15.6 million grant, awarded by the Big Lottery Fund, and Astley Village secured over £300,000.

A spokesman for Places for People said: “The project improvements have been designed after consultation with local people and will offer something for everyone, including landscaped areas, the planting of new trees and shrubs, quiet areas for adults, and play areas for children and young people.”

In light of the concerns, he added: “We will develop a management plan with residents to help ensure the long term sustainability of the green spaces upon completion.

“A range of activities will also be arranged to encourage children to use the park and its facilities appropriately, and these will include play sessions over the summer period.”