Residents have reacted with anger after plans to replace a condemned trim trail with a play park behind a housing estate in Snettisham.
Householders from Bewick Close feel they have been kept in the dark about the proposals at Lodge Park Walk in the village.
Joanne Wood, who has lived in the area for 10 years, said: “Snettisham Parish Council have always been saying that the park at the back of our properties was in need of updating.
“Personally, I didn’t hear anything else until we had a Tesco bag for change and I saw that they had applied for funds to help them improve the park.
“That finished last month and the next thing any of us were aware of anything going on was when I walked through the park with my dogs last Wednesday.
“I saw the contractors there with plans only to be told that it had all been passed and they were starting that day.
“I have since found out that only one neighbour supposedly knew about it, but only because her daughter informed her after coming home with a leaflet or something from school.”
Mrs Wood, who has children of her own, added:“We are not against improving the area as it does need it, but it’s the size of the area.
“This new design is taking up half of the park when the parish council keep stating it’s a like-for-like improvement.
“How is replacing a wooden trim trail that goes around the edge of the park anything like filling half of the park with metal play structures?
“The parish council say it was highly publicised in the village newsletter/magazine that every house is supposed to receive, but it appears than a lot of residents haven’t received it for months.
“As residents directly connected to the park and it’s boundaries, we were not given the common courtesy of making sure we knew what was happening, so we could have a say on what was happening, and be given the chance to oppose or agree to it.”
Parish council clerk Simon Bower said: “The Parish Council maintains two play areas in the village.
“One of these – at the Memorial Field – had inadequate surfacing, and one broken piece of equipment had been removed while the second area – Lodge Walk - had a wooden trim trail.
“Though not dangerous, the trail was unfit for purpose and the most recent inspection stated that it needed replacing urgently.
This was considered as a joint project. The Memorial Field site would be prioritised for the younger children.
“There has been pressure for some time for more provision for slightly older children, and this became the target age range for Lodge Walk.
“The budget for both sites was approved at December’s parish council meeting.
“The amount was agreed as it was understood that a considerable sum would be needed simply to bring standards up to date.
“New/replacement equipment was clearly needed and the opportunity to have disabled access was felt very important.
“The sums being quoted therefore are for safety/replacement costs across two sites.”
The Parish Council published information about the development in four consecutive issues of the TORC newsletter and it was also the subject of a consultation process at the Parish Council open days which took place in April 2016.
Funding for the project has come from a combination of donations, car boot sale, grants and PC money set aside over several years, including £2,000 from the Tesco Bag for Change scheme.
But some residents feel that money to replace the trim trail, which was condemned last week, could have been better spent.
Mrs Wood said: “At a cost of more £58,000 there are many things they could’ve done to the park costing less money to make it a lovely space for children, adults, the elderly, and wildlife,
“They could’ve used the money on things like a pedestrian crossing near the Co-op store where children cross to go to school as it’s a busy road.”