‘Pay for it yourself’ – home group refuses to fund repairs on shutdown play park

Foxhomes Resident Margaret Welsh angry over closure of play park on estate
Foxhomes Resident Margaret Welsh angry over closure of play park on estate

A fed-up resident on a South Tyneside estate has called for a closed down playground to be reopened.

Margaret Welsh and neighbours on the Foxhomes estate in Jarrow have been forced to put with months of trouble from groups of children ever since the ball park was closed off for safety reasons in May by housing provider The Home Group, who manage the estate.

Foxhomes Resident Margaret Welsh angry over closure of play park on estate

Foxhomes Resident Margaret Welsh angry over closure of play park on estate

The 63-year-old said residents had endured a nightmare summer - and she fears more of the same with the half-term holidays approaching.

But they remain in limbo after being told they will have to foot the bill for repair work themselves.

Home Group say the amenity was owned by Foxhomes Residents’ Association who secured a £70,000 Lottery grant to build the park in 2002 - but the group disbanded over a decade ago.

The housing association say they closed off the park after a child was injured two months ago as a safety measure for residents.

We are all dreading the half-term holidays

Margaret Welsh

Mrs Welsh remains hopeful that the ball park will be re-opened and has written to lottery bosses to see if they can help out again.

Mrs Welsh, who has lived on the estate for 14 years, said: “The park is still closed but I am hopeful that it will be re-opened again. There is only very little repair work needed and it is a waste.

“There is still a lot of anti-social behaviour from the children. They have been up on the trees, pulling down branches.

“We are all dreading the half-term holidays as the children will have a lot of spare time and there is nothing for them to do with the ball park being closed.

“I have written to the lottery fund to see what they think about it.”

Home Group say they sealed off the park for safety reasons, but do not own the land.

Christine Jeffers, Home Group senior customer services manager, said: “The play area belongs to the Foxhome Residents’ Association which paid for it to be built. The Residents’ Association disbanded in 2004 and Home Group has never adopted the play area.

“As a responsible landlord with a number of homes in the neighbourhood we stepped in to secure the site and prevent children entering after it suffered from neglect and disrepair.

“As a not-for-profit charity it simply wouldn’t be right for us to spend our customers’ money on repairs to facilities we don’t own. We are happy to advise residents and support them on repairs should they choose to undertake them.

“We don’t tolerate anti-social behaviour and will always take action to tackle it.”