A VISION to transform an area of Ashworth Park into a children’s play area has been abandoned after the council received criticism over its public consultation.

Knutsford Town Councillors resolved to make steps to protect the green space as it is after plans to build a play area, costing around £15,000 of tax payers’ money, were slammed at a council assets and operations committee meeting on Monday night.

Ashworth Park residents attended the meeting to voice their concerns over the plans, and spokesman Roger Parker commented on supposed ‘flaws’ in the consultation.

“The consultation paper was fundamentally flawed therefore the findings and conclusions are flawed,” he said.

“What do you say to the children and adults who already use that area of Ashworth Park for unstructured recreational activity?”

Concerns were raised over the weight given to the ‘support’ from residents based on the responses, of which there were 20 positive comments and 17 objections.

Cllr Christine Gray spoke against the plans, saying: “I do not feel there was an overwhelming support. So few people responded. I would not be sure that this has been resident led.

“I don’t think it’s the case that children and residents wanted this. I am also very concerned about the site that’s been chosen. It’s boggy boggy boggy. Some of the children play there during the summer, and they have free play, I’m a great believer of free play with children.”

The council had planned to apply for an asset transfer of the area from Cheshire East Council to Knutsford Town Council, in order to gain more control over the land.

In December, 557 consultation papers were sent out to residents within a 10 minute walk of the site, but only 106 responses were received by the town council, less than 20 per cent.

The council also asked 579 children at Bexton and Egerton Primary School, who voted in class.

Cllr Yvonne Bancroft added: “It would be completely wrong for this council to do this when everybody’s having cuts. It’s wrong where we do not need to spend money.”

Cllr Bancroft proposed that the council look into having the land protected as a ‘local green space’ which was supported by the overwhelming majority.