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At a meeting of North Devon Council’s Strategy and Resources Committee on Monday (3 August), councillors agreed to allocate over £41,000 of funding towards improvements to community spaces in the district.

  • £23,816 to replace and upgrade play equipment in Babbages play area in Bickington
  • £17,648 towards enhancement of the footpaths at South Molton recreation ground and community woodland

The equipment proposed for Babbages play area includes a new multi-play unit, a springer, a spinning carousel, refurbishment of the existing metalwork and new safety surfacing.

In South Molton the town council intends to use the funding to reestablish and widen the existing footpath at the recreation ground to improve access to the area, particularly for those in wheelchairs or with pushchairs.

Leader of North Devon Council, and local ward member for South Molton, Councillor David Worden, says: “The council works with parish councils to identify specific needs in their area, so these types of project allows us to provide facilities which benefit our communities the most. As leader, being able to see the council provide much needed public amenities through funding from local developments is a great privilege; and as ward member for South Molton I am very pleased to see funding from local developments being put to such good use.”

Local ward member for Bickington, Councillor Will Topps, says: "Babbages play area is an important part of the community for people who live nearby, and sadly it had fallen into a state which meant it was difficult for children and families to use it safely. It’s great that as a team of three united district councillors Joy, Helen and I have been able to work towards getting it fixed. I’m sure the money spent will be well worth it as local families enjoy the benefits of a safe and fun play area in their community."

Under Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, contributions can be sought from developers towards the costs of providing extra community and social infrastructure as a result of the impact of a new development.

These contributions can only be used for certain things, but are used primarily for public open space projects.