Lanstephan Area Play Park, which has been created over the past three years by a coalition of residents and official bodies, will now be managed and maintained by the Lanstephan estate community - part of a drive by Cornwall Council to pass on control of local assets to local communities where there is support to do so.
Placing the park in local hands also opens up opportunities for the Lanstephan Area Play Park Committee and Launceston Town Council to apply for grant funding that is not available to Cornwall Council and to make further improvements to the site.
The site was formerly a derelict car park in the middle of a housing estate with little in the way of open space or play areas. Residents formed the Lanstephan Area Play Park Committee, began talks with Cornwall Council and set about raising funds to transform the site into an inviting public space for everyone on the estate.
Cornwall Housing agreed to tidy up the site, while Cornwall Council provided some capital funding to bring it up to a good standard of repair before the freehold transfer of the site took place. Meanwhile the Lanstephan Area Play Park Committee secured grant funding for low maintenance play equipment, perimeter fencing, seating and colourful planters.
Funding came from a DCLG Pocket Park grant, Tesco Bags of Help, Launceston Rotary Trust, Cory Environmental Trust, Cornwall Community Foundation and local businesses and fundraisers. Playground specialists TK Play advised on the project.
Leader of Cornwall Council and Cornwall councillor for Launceston North and North Petherwin Adam Paynter said: "Local play areas have a vital role in the health, well-being and quality of life in our towns and we know how important they are to our residents. Lanstephan is one of the areas identified in Cornwall Council’s Open Spaces Strategy for Larger Towns as needing more equipped play areas, so it’s been fantastic to have been involved in the Lanstephan Area Play Park’s development and transformation."
Cornwall Council cabinet member for neighbourhoods Edwina Hannaford said the park was an impressive example of what can be achieved by a determined community group and a proactive town council.
Deputy mayor of Launceston Town Council Dave Gordon said: "Launceston Town Council have been long term supporters of the concept of a play park on the Lanstephan Estate, and we are delighted to have played our part in the creation of this park and garden area.
"The children of the Lanstephan estate have finally got a safe place to meet and play, within sight of their homes, and this has only been possible by the determination of the Play Park Committee, who should be congratulated on their hard work and achievement. We are proud to continue our support of the Lanstephan Area Play Park and other play areas within the town and will do all we can to ensure the children of Launceston have a safe, green open spaces to enjoy and play in."