LibDem councillors call on Lewes District Council to get a move on with Valley Dip play area upgrade

24 Mar 2024
Christina Bristow and Lesley Boniface standing in sunshine against a background of grass and sky at Valley Dip in Seaford

Liberal Democrat councillors for Seaford West have expressed concern about the plans of Green councillors on Lewes District Council to downgrade the refurbishment of play facilities and plant an orchard instead.

Spring is here and families have been looking forward to the arrival of fresh play equipment in the Valley Dip playground. Unfortunately, the long-awaited new equipment won’t be installed until June at the earliest. Meanwhile some existing equipment has been removed due to safety concerns.

Cllr Lesley Boniface explains: “Lewes District Council has a budget of £400,000 for upgrading playgrounds across the District. We are sorely disappointed that only £12,000 is being spent on Valley Dip.

“In a consultation last summer, residents asked for a wider variety of play equipment, facilities for older children and shaded seating with enhanced accessibility. People also said that they would like to bring dogs. Plans for a fence to separate the playground from a dog-walking area have been pulled by the Greens who cite lack of funds, and the new play equipment itself has been significantly downgraded from that originally chosen.

“Families in Seaford West have been underserved in the provision of play facilities for too long. We continue to demand better facilities for our residents.”

Green councillors wanted to parachute in a Brighton organisation to plant fruit trees in Seaford but have climbed down on their Valley Dip orchard plans after local LibDem councillors called a halt to a further 8 trees being planted in addition to the 11 new trees already planted this year.

Cllr Christina Bristow says: “We welcome more trees to provide much-needed shade and environmental benefits but planting has to be appropriate for the location. We are concerned that this proposal for a so-called community orchard came so close to fruition without any community consultation whatsoever. Residents have already felt the reduction in open space for children to play in and an extra orchard would result in nearly half the Valley Dip open space being planted up, without residents having had a say. Putting fruit trees so close to a children’s playground raises fears about attracting wasps, as well as stone fruit being a danger to dogs.

“We hope that the District Council will work with us as ward councillors to engage with our local residents and voluntary groups and come up with a sustainable planting design for Seaford West.”

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