A £2m playground improvement project will see more play facilities that meet national standards across the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames than any other London borough.
Once the programme, now in its third year, is completed in 2006, 90 per cent of its playgrounds will meet the Local Equipped Area for Play (LEAP) standard.
“It’s an area where we were under par, but now we will be the best in London,” said Eve Risbridger, head of parks and open spaces.
The programme is the result of election promises by the incoming Conservative administration in 2002 to upgrade children’s facilities in the borough.
In 2003, seven very poor play areas were upgraded, followed by 12 sites in 2004 and 15 in 2005. A further eight are planned for 2006.
In April this year, councillors also voted to fund a £3.7m, five-year parks improvement initiative. Sites chosen for year-one projects were given priority because most were in either the health and safety or whole site improvement category.
The play improvement scheme identified a gap in facilities for 12- to 17-year-olds.
The council is now carrying out a pilot project to install youth shelters and fitness points within three of its parks.
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