Views sought on Cornwallis Circle plans

Cornwallis Circle

Cornwallis Circle play area in Whitstable is set for a revamp - but to what extent? And what improvements could be made to the green space in that part of the town?

Cornwallis Circle play area in Whitstable is set for a revamp - but to what extent? And what improvements could be made to the green space in that part of the town?

Those are the questions being posed in a two-part city council public consultation that opens today (Monday 17 May) aimed at people who live nearby and use the space.

At the play area, the council currently has £25,000 from housing developer contributions to spend, which could repair some of the existing broken equipment and also provide a small number of new pieces. This work would happen later this year.

However, there is also the option to work with the Cornwallis Circle Playground Improvement Group and ward councillors on a fundraising campaign of up to 12 months, which would aim to raise an additional £50,000.

This would be added to the council's budget and would result in a complete refurbishment with brand new equipment, including a basketball area. Work would be completed by autumn 2022 at the earliest and there would be no improvements in the interim.

The council's lead councillor for open spaces, Cllr Ashley Clark, said: "This is an unusual situation, because normally when we have a play area revamp on the go, we have a set budget in place and design the scheme in line with the money that's available.

"This time, however, we have some flexibility on the way we take it forward, and it will be interesting to see whether local residents want us to get cracking on a smaller project, or wait for a while and get something that's bigger and better. We're keen to hear as many views as possible to help us make that decision."

In addition to the play area scheme, the city council has funding of £28,000, again from housing developer contributions, to improve the green space at Cornwallis Circle, which could be used on wildlife, sport and outdoor recreation projects.

Ideas that are being put forward in this part of the public consultation include tree planting, a wildlife area with 'bug hotels' or log piles to increase biodiversity, picnic tables, outdoor gym equipment and a multi-purpose hard surface area for activities such as mini ball games, petanque and exercising.

Cllr Clark added: "The recreation area at Cornwallis Circle has potential and there are some great suggestions here, particularly around the wildlife enhancements. It would be lovely to see children who live nearby getting involved in creating 'bug hotels', for example. The list of options is not exhaustive though, and other ideas will be most welcome."

To take part in either element of the public consultation, go to the council's website. Views should be submitted by Sunday 13 June.

The council is also keen to hear from residents who would like to get involved in Cornwallis Circle's future through initiatives such as tree watering or biodiversity schemes. Please email [email protected]

Published: 17th May 2021