Ten year wait for play equipment at Convent Field in Lewes

Action packed: An image of the new play equipment that's set to be delivered at the Convent Field site in Lewes

Action packed: An image of the new play equipment that's set to be delivered at the Convent Field site in Lewes

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Play equipment will finally be installed at the Convent Field in Lewes after a wait of almost a decade.

It is likely to have a ‘castles’ theme and the tendering process will be completed next Friday, June 13.

Cllr Ruth O’Keeffe, who has championed the project, said: “Installation is planned for August if all goes well.

“A whole generation of children have grown up waiting for this play area to be equipped and it will be wonderful to see the next generation actually playing on it!”

She said that nearly 10 years ago money was agreed to replace the Convent Field play equipment, which had been in the Lewes Priory grounds but was planned for a new site on the other side of the wall.

“The equipment was removed and a raised area created for the new equipment but it never appeared,” said Cllr O’Keeffe.

“When I researched the funding for the equipment I found that more than £100,000 was set aside via developers’ contributions from planning applications under what is called a ‘section 106’ agreement for the Convent Field equipment.

“Ever since then I have been pursuing it being installed. Along the way I discovered that there were hundreds of thousands of pounds more also unspent. I have recently been working with Cllr Sharon Davy to get an agreement that town and parish councils within the Lewes District can take a more active role in getting these ‘106 contributions’ for recreation grounds spent.”

Cllr O’Keeffe said an agreement had been secured following meetings with district council officers that every town and parish which has unspent money allocated following planning applications for play equipment and outdoor recreation will be getting a letter soon telling them how much is there and what their options are for helping to make sure it is spent on the equipment or facilities as soon as possible.

She added: “Cllr Davy [Chailey and Wivelsfield] and I are further working on having a policy in place which makes sure that nowhere has to wait as long as the Convent Field has for play equipment or facilities that have funding already sorted out.”

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