Dear Sir,

In reply to Mr R Liddle’s letter in the Newton News on the 24th May, I would like to make the following points:

• The playground was designed as an integral part of the area design and development.

• The maintenance of the playground was initially undertaken by Sedgefield District Council and later transferred to Durham County Council in 2009.

• Since 2009, the playground became run down and was littered with broken glass and rubbish. The apparatus was unsafe and needed to be removed.

• Local Town and County Councillors requested the Town Council to engage in a joint funding operation to restore the playground and make it into an attractive area for children to play.

• The Town Council agreed to the proposal and the playground has recently been refurbished to a high standard, at a total cost of £150,000.

• The Town Council is proud to provide 9 parks and 4 further large play areas. The equipment is of high quality and maintained regularly. Our Park Patrol Operatives tour the parks and play areas and liaise with the police in order to reduce anti-social behaviour.

I have waited until now before replying to Mr Liddle’s letter as he urged other residents in the area to object to the development in writing to the Town Council. To date, we have only received one letter and definitely no complaint from the Rose Lodge Care Home.

Finally, before I am accused of the playground not being close to my home, I must confess that I enjoy the sound of children playing. For a number of years I lived in Fenhall Green. This was an end of terrace house with a gable end. Next to the gable end was a children’s play area and the gable end had a goalpost and cricket wickets chalked on it. Yes, the children could be heard enjoying themselves and there was some banging on the walls, but my late wife and I never complained.

As I write, the Town Council has no plans to remove or relocate the playground.

Cllr Bob Fleming

Leader – Great Aycliffe Town Council