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Plan to cut funding for Stonebridge Adventure Playground disappears off Brent Council website

PUBLISHED: 18:20 17 November 2014 | UPDATED: 13:48 18 November 2014

The centre opened in 1976

The centre opened in 1976

Angela Blake

One minute you see it, the next it's gone, is Brent Council playing hide and seek?

Brent council Access denied on plans to cut funding from Stonebridge playcentreBrent council Access denied on plans to cut funding from Stonebridge playcentre

Plans to scrap funding for the beleaguered Stonebridge Adventure Playground in Shakespeare Road, was listed among Brent Council’s forward planning items online at the weekend, a day before the public consultation ends.

However it has since disappeared.

Titled “Revenue funding to Brent Play Association which supports the running costs of Stonebridge Adventure Playground”, it read: ‘To terminate the funding to Brent Play Association (BPA) at the end of the 2014-15 financial year.’

The reason stated is ‘significant expenditure/ savings>30 per cent of budget for the function in question.’

Boxer Audley Harrison is supporting calls to save the playground (Pic credit: Angela Blake)Boxer Audley Harrison is supporting calls to save the playground (Pic credit: Angela Blake)

The final decision is due on December 15.

Now the posting on the website simply reads: “Access Denied”

Residents have been battling council plans to reduce the centre to rubble and replace it with the expansion of Stonebridge Primary School and the construction of new homes.This evening, at the stroke of midnight, the public consultation on the fate of Stonebridge Playcentre will end after more than a year of campaigning by staff and residents.

Martin Francis, a trustee of the Brent Play Association and a former headteacher at Park Lane Primary School who originally posted the forward planning note on his blog Wembley Matters, said: “They are deceitful and shameful.”

Glynis Lee, who runs the centre with husband Doug Lee, saw the item before access to it was denied. She said: “We’re very concerned this pre-empted the consultation because the consultation finishes tonight, midnight, so they seem to have completely bypassed that.

She added: “We’re concerned about the results of the consultation and whether they are actually going to be published properly.

We were told at the last consultation event that the results would come out at the end of December beginning of January so this decision to withdraw funding has really pre-empted that and it kind of blows the consultation out of the water, as far as the Stonebridge Playcentre is concerned.”

Cllr Muhammed Butt, Leader of Brent Council, said: “The forward plan item considering the future funding of the Brent Play Association was taken down from our website as it was an incorrect version which had been uploaded in error. A correct version will be published later today. (Tuesday).

“It is important to note that this funding issue is completely separate from the regeneration proposals for Stonebridge. They are two separate decisions.

“Given the fact that by 2018 Brent Council will have had its funding cut in half by government, we are having to review all expenditure across a wide range of areas including children’s services.

“But let me be absolutely clear about this, no decisions on either the funding of the Brent Play Association or on the regeneration of Stonebridge have yet been made.”

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