Concerns have been raised over planned improvements to a Wearside park once labelled a death trap and “the most depressing in Britain”.
£7,087 has been earmarked by Sunderland City Council to pay for improvements to Diamond Hall Pocket Park in Millfield.
When the money is spent on new equipment, it will be the third upgrade the park – which is on the site of the old Diamond Hall primary school – has seen in recent years.
The Pocket Park made national headlines in 2010 after being labelled a “death trap playground which looks like a cemetery” and “the most depressing park in Britain.” £70,000 was spent ‘revamping’ the park but residents were left less than impressed when concrete blocks were installed as ‘play features’ instead of traditional playground equipment.
The park was redesigned again after the uproar, and now contains a range of playground equipment – although many of the concrete blocks still remain.
Local Lib Dem campaigner Niall Hodson says that residents have long campaigned for further improvements but are deeply concerned about Sunderland Council’s lack of communication about their plans.
Mr Hodson explained:
“Millfield is densely populated and the pocket park is the only local green space in walking distance for many, so it’s crucial that the Council get these improvements right.
“I’ve been speaking to local residents to see what changes and new facilities they’d like to see, but sadly the vast majority are unaware that this funding has even been allocated. Given the mess that was made the last time the park was ‘upgraded’ I would have expected that both the Council and councillors would be making every effort to listen to people’s ideas about how this money could be best spent.
“Local people can’t afford another Sunderland Council cock-up.”