A FINAL decision on the location of the play park on Chippenham has been made.

Monmouthshire County Council’ cabinet agreed to create a new play park closer to the town and in a more visible part of Chippenham park at a meeting yesterday (25th July).

The original proposal in 2016 was to fund a refurbishment of the existing play area in 2016 with £85,000 of housing development money.

Calls for an alternative site were dismissed and MCC planned to go ahead with the refurbishment option as a number of factors would make a move difficult; the fact that Chippenham was a registered village green and would require consent from the Welsh Assembly being one of them.

However pressure from groups such as the ‘Friends of Chippenham Mead’ forced the council into a U-turn and after a number of site options were put forward, a decision has been made to site it close to the rear entrance to the police station.

One of the junior rugby pitches will see some shrinkage and Village Green Consent as well as planning permission will need to be obtained before the park can go ahead.

One of the dangers faced by MCC is that the Welsh Assembly may well ‘call-in’ the plan as they did with the Hadnock Road hotel and spa and make a decision themselves, overruling any decision the council will look to make.

The prospect of the developers clawing back the section 106 monies is slim as the deadline has been set back to 2021.

The advantages will be that the park will be more visible and be up to present-day legislation and be further away from the polluting A40 trunk road.

Cllr Bob Greenland, cabinet member for innovation, enterprise and leisure, said the site suffers from traffic fumes from the nearby A449.

“When we were there there were smells of diesel fumes and that alone is a question mark for whether we should be putting a children’s play area there,” he told the meeting.

“While it’s not universally accepted I think it’s fair to say there is acceptance on the site from more people within the town than before.”

Cllr Peter Fox, leader of the council, asked if there is a fall-back position if village green consent is not granted.

But Cllr Greenland said the application has to be submitted first before any indication can be given over consent.

He said it is difficult to have another plan B other than reverting back to the existing site at the moment.

The existing play area would be returned to an open landscaped area with additional tree planting under the plans.