Petition leads to change of heart over Stansted play equipment

The mushroom seating at Reeve Road.

The mushroom seating at Reeve Road. - Credit: Archant

Residents of a Stansted community are happy after hearing that some play equipment that was removed last week will be reinstalled.

Parents on the Forest Hall estate were angry that equipment from two play areas in Reeve Road has been replaced with mushroom seating, despite assurances from Uttlesford District Council that all interested parties would be involved in further discussions following a meeting in July.

A petition, started by parents on, received more than 300 signatures, and led to a meeting with concerned parents, and representatives from the parish and district council on Wednesday (September 30) at the offices of Stansted Parish Council.

The changes to the land, owned by developer Croudace Homes, were made on September 16 and have divided residents with some in favour of the new adaptations due to allegations of anti-social behaviour at the play areas.

Parent Katherine Aitken, who wants the equipment reinstalled, was pleased with the outcome of yesterday’s meeting. She said: “It was very positive, a compromise regarding the situation was all we ever wanted. It seems like a sensible solution to discuss what kind of play equipment can be put back. I think we had some influence on the decision, but if the community had been consulted properly, then none of this would have probably happened.”

Fellow parent John Black, who also attended the meeting in favour of play equipment at the sites, said: “I’m coming out of it positive and upbeat. It was a productive meeting and it looks as though we will get a few pieces of equipment back. I hope the council will now take us seriously, and we can work towards a compromise with all parties. I am hoping to hear from Councillor Barker very soon about the available options.”

No one against the play equipment being reinstalled was available for comment.

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Following yesterday’s meeting, Conservative councillor for Stansted South and Birchanger Terry Farthing said: “We have agreed to work with all interested parties towards agreeing to install more appropriate play equipment in Reeve Road and find a suitable home for some of the larger items that were removed. It is a shame that the developers removed all of the equipment after having been asked not to do so after a petition by concerned residents to the full council meeting.

“We are hoping to resolve this issue swiftly and do not expect to encounter further planning issues. Cllr Barker is collecting views from the residents of suitable equipment which will be discussed with both ourselves, parish councillors and other interested parties to put forward to the planners.”

The land is due to be passed from Croudace to Stansted Parish Council in due course but will not take place until the situation has been resolved.

Croudace Homes was contacted but had not replied by the time of going to press.