‘Bring back our playground!’ That’s the call from angry families in Golcar.
Children and parents were left in disbelief last month when all the play equipment at a popular park disappeared.
The slides, climbing frame, swings and see-saw at the park in Rufford Road, Golcar, was ripped out by Kirklees Council, leaving just a mound of soil.
After parents complained to the Examiner, the council revealed it had removed the equipment on safety grounds.
But the sudden removal of the playground came without warning, with even local councillors unaware that it was set to go.
The council has since confirmed there are no plans to replace it and the area is to be grassed over.
Members of the community have now launched a petition with the backing of Golcar Lib Dem, Clr Andrew Marchington.
More than 1,000 signatures have already been gathered.
Dad of five, Matthew Gledhill, said his children were really missing the facility.
“There’s very strong feeling about this,” he said.
“The council shouldn’t take the park away without notice or consultation.
“Now there’s nowhere for little ones to play.
“It’s wrong taking everything away from them.
“We have to cross four main roads to get to the nearest park now, it’s wrong.
“We want them to re-think what they’ve done and replace the equipment.
“We will maintain it and look after it.”
Clr Marchington said: “We need to make sure there are play areas that children can access.
“This one has been here a long time and it was well used.”
Referring to the safety concerns that led to the entire play area being removed, Clr Marchington added: “The question is how urgent was it?
“Residents are saying they’re not sure it was dangerous.
“The council could have at least put up a notification or repaired in the short term until the review of all Kirklees playgrounds is completed.”
Kirklees Council announced back in June it was embarking on a review of its hundreds of play areas – the first for 11 years.
The council said at the time that none would close but equipment would be removed from some.
Kirklees has claimed it has more parks than Leeds and Bradford put together, but many are thought to be small ones within new build housing estates.
Clr Marchington said: “We’ve got these little-bitty play areas all over the place – it would’ve been better to invest the money from housing firms in existing play areas.”
A spokesperson for Kirklees Council, said: “We are developing our approach to play areas and have been seeking people’s views since September.
“This is helping us to gain a better understanding of the current and potential play opportunities in Kirklees.
“We are interested to hear all views and ideas for providing play opportunities across the district.”