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Budget cuts: £20m playgrounds project axed

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The coalition government has axed £20 million worth of funding earmarked for the delivery of new playgrounds

The Labour government aimed to build 1,335 new playgrounds this year. It is understood that 400 of the schemes are now under threat.

A string of architect-designed projects are now likely to hit the rocks.

London-based Erect Architecture landed a playground-building contract with Croydon Council which was shelved due to the cuts.

The practice is also preparing to submit for planning a further five playground schemes but the client, Lambeth Council, is yet to announce whether they can go ahead.

Projects at risk include Erect’s Notre Dame Estate play area scheme (pictured), which has a budget of £40,000. The site is close to the remains of a Grade II Listed orangery in Clapham, south London. The design features a ‘Frankenstein’ climbing tree, fruit trees, socialising opportunities and other ‘low key’ play elements.

Barbara Kaucky of Erect Architecture said: ‘It’s quite a shame. It would be painful for our practice [if the schemes are shelved] and a huge disappointment for those who initiated [the projects].

‘Definitely there will be redundancies across the profession and contractors going bust because it is a big project nationwide.’

Nick Udal of Sprunt is designing several playgrounds schemes for Newham Council, some of which could be affected by the cuts. He said: ‘People are going to go more towards the manufacturers and off the peg designs which are fine, but we can add a bit of something unique and a bit different for each site and that’s something manufacturers don’t do.

‘For a reasonable budget architects can add quite a lot of value and introduce some imagination to the design.’

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