Gateford parents have their say over facilities

PARENTS are backing a community leader’s plea for improved play facilities in Gateford.

Former Gateford Residents’ Association chairman Larry Read hit out at Bassetlaw Council and branded the area the ‘forgotten’ estate.

He said residents pay £3.5million in council tax annually, and believes the area is the ‘cash cow’ for other deprived areas in Worksop.

This week parents have backed Mr Read’s calls to provide somewhere for youngsters to play, while local councillors defended their position.

“The area desperately needs it – there is nothing for the children, nothing at all,” said one mother, who spoke for many local residents.

Coun Vicky Wanless attended the first and last meeting of the GRA four days after she was elected in May 2008. She said: “If the figure of £3.5million is correct or not it must be noted that less than 10 per cent of this money goes to Bassetlaw District Council – the remainder goes to County Council, and the police and fire services.”

“Mr Read says that this money was used to fund more deprived areas. This may have been true 10 to 15 years ago when the first phases of the estate were developed, but it has not been the case with the later phases.”

“I am aware that there is nowhere for the teenagers to go on the estate. This seems to be the same on many new estates that are developed and perhaps should be taken into account on future applications.”

“I must point out that earlier this year the Valley Youth Centre was opened on my ward, and this is an excellent new facility.”

She added that former councillor Steve Burton worked tirelessly to raise funding for community play facilities on the Ashes Park Estate, and found funding from the 106 money from developers.

“The disappointing result of this consultation was that, although residents could see the need for the play facilities, the overwhelming majority of them did not want it building on the Ashes Park Estate.”

“The decision was therefore taken to build it as close as possible, the result being the play facility at the back of St John’s School that was opened last year.”

She added: “I am always endeavouring to resolve a wide variety of issues for people in the whole ward.”

Coun Bill Barker said: “The lack of facilities in Gateford is, I am told, due to a big swindle by the developers who each built a limited number of houses.”

“This resulted in them not having to fund anything for the community. They are the real villains of the peace.”

“If funds were available for some kind of youth provision in Gateford there are several questions to be asked.”

“Who would agree to have it built near them, and would it be well used?”

“I regret the answer to both is ‘no’. For the former question people have told me this, and for the latter attempts have been made by the youth service which only attracted a small number of young people.”

“Gateford is not a separate village but an integral part of Worksop. Youngsters can benefit from the play facilities on St John’s Field.”

“The sports centre, sports facilities and Youth Centre on Valley Road are a stone’s throw away and we all look forward to watching the latest blockbusters showing at the new cinema in town when it arrives.”

Coun Barker said over the last three years he has always highlighted issues brought to his attention.

“It is a privilege to represent Worksop North and I will continue to press for improvements in the ward and across Bassetlaw,” he said.

“Constructive suggestions and dialogue are always welcome and residents can discuss their concerns with me.”