Facelift on the way for park

WORK is under way to bring a play area back up to scratch following complaints by residents.

Users of Rockcliffe Park in Whitley Bay have been calling for action after drainage works by Northumbrian Water left the park looking untidy.

Parts of the park were also rendered out of bounds.

Large boulders had been left lying around, and much of the grass was taken up, leaving it unsuitable for children to play on.

Attempts to re-seed the park’s grassed areas failed, turning the former lawns into muddy wasteland.

However, the water company began work this week on laying new turf on the games field next to the play area, and North Tyneside Council is planning additional work next month.

Work lined up by the council includes re-painting the walls and perimeter fencing, replacing two seats in the games area, realigning coping stones, removing ivy from the gable wall alongside Rockcliffe Gardens, installing new seats and bins and replacing the toddler and junior swings.

Borough mayor Linda Arkley said: “I’m delighted we’ve moved quickly and the turf is starting to be laid.

“It’s about making North Tyneside a better place to be for our residents.”

Craig Sutton, a member of Rockcliffe Park and Community Group, has been leading the calls for a facelift to the park and is delighted action is being taken.

He said: “We’re very pleased that something is being done after the original refurbishment was so badly botched by Northumbrian Water digging up the pitch and leaving it.

“The council started improvements three years ago, but after a little bit of work, they left broken seats and fencing behind, although we did get a couple of new pieces of play equipment.

“Then Northumbrian Water dug up the football pitch and its contractors tried to re-seed it but failed as the soil hadn’t been prepared properly.

“The way they have reacted to the problem has been great.”

Whitley Bay ward councillor John O’Shea is backing the calls for improvements, saying: “Rockcliffe Park is crumbling. There are two bits of play area where maintenance work needs to be carried out.”