Play England calls for input to draft guidance on Government's Play Strategy

Play England has launched a draft guidance document for embedding the Government's Play Strategy in local authorities.

Its major thrust is to build on the play improvements that are being made through the £235m Playbuilder and Pathfinder programmes by providing guidance for long-term strategic planning for play.

Embedding the Play Strategy is out for consultation until 30 October and Play England is encouraging parks professionals, landscape architects, planners and those involved in health, education and transport to respond.

The guidance could be particularly significant for parks and green spaces as it encourages a strategic approach to creating "healthy, active play, particularly outdoors".

The University of Sheffield's senior lecturer Helen Woolley, who specialises in play and open spaces, told HW that many local authorities need help on rolling out the play agenda, but there are challenges involved.

"With so many other statutory priorities I have heard some local authorities say they can't even get their politicians to decide where to spend their play money," she said. "They've got bigger worries."

Around 500 play spaces have been created so far out of the total 3,500 required by the Government by 2011 under the Playbuilder and Pathfinder capital investment programmes.

GreenSpace business development manager Dave Tibbatts added: "We welcome the emphasis on joined-up delivery and embedding of the strategy at all levels.

"We don't want to see another bland play area being grafted onto a rubbish park, while decision makers congratulate each other on another job completed.

"We believe that parks and the full range of accessible urban green spaces have the potential to make the most significant contribution to this agenda, provided they receive the support and investment they need from senior decision makers."

To comment on Embedding the Play Strategy, visit www.playengland.org.uk.

 

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