Almost £55,000 is to be spent on replacing surfaces and repairing equipment at the Recreation Ground in Liphook.

Members of the Bramshott and Liphook Parish Council’s Finance and Policy Committee were unanimous in approving the replacement of surfaces in both play areas.

A ’wet pour’ surface and mulch on the embankments will be installed, at a cost of £52,146, and another £2,745 will be spent repairing equipment in the children’s and young people’s play areas.

Committee chairman Susan Garnett told the Herald: "This was chosen as the safest alternative to replace the existing surface.

"And while the initial cost is higher than the alternative of a mulch of chopped soft surface material, it performs better in damp areas and requires no aftercare.

"This would be an ongoing and expensive labour cost as mulch needs to be regularly raked to keep it in place and ensure no undesirable items are left in it.

"Our insurers pointed out the defects in our existing surface and we felt we had to respond.

"At the same time, the parish council is dealing with repairs to all the equipment in both play areas and the skatepark, and the removal of one item of play equipment at the older children’s play area.

"This is going to be replaced by something new- and we hope to have suggestions from the older children what they would like to see to replace the climbing frame.

"There are very few amenities in the parish for young people so we felt the improvement and upkeep of these areas was a priority.

"It is a major item of expenditure for the parish council this year.

"Hopefully, now the figures have been agreed, the contractors can get this work done as soon as possible."

Councillors had lengthy discussions about all proposed surface options, which included leaving the grass areas in place to stop it looking like an urban play ground or using rubber mulch.

Jeanette Kirby raised safety concerns over trip hazards and ’critical fall height’ from various pieces of equipment, as well as the base-work which will need to be done before the wet pour can be laid.

Councillors agreed to remove the out-of-date multi-activity unit from the older children’s playground, since it was hardly ever used and would save the parish council expensive repair costs.

They discussed alternative options for teenagers and adults, which could include an outdoor gym.

Equipment installed at both play parks, which are now eight years old, will need to be repaired or replaced to conform with insurance cover.

The contractor appointed for both projects is Sawscapes Play, a family-run business based in Alton.

With more than 15 years’ experience in the industry, the company states it understands how important play is to the development of every child.

The play-park project was first discussed by the parish council in April 2010, after two local campaigners, Helen Millard and Bonnie Wright, completed and presented their community survey for proposed renovations at the Recreation Ground off London Road.

Following a public consultation, work was carried out by Kompan Unique Playgrounds, at a total cost of just under £70,000.

The play-park opened in August 2011, attracting a crowd of more than 70 children and 30 adults.

Both play areas have been in regular use ever since.

Only two years later, repeated vandalism forced the parish council to close the play areas for repairs.

However, the council was successful in securing funding for the repair of the older children’s play area and the installation of a zip wire.

The skatepark at the Little Rec has been an ongoing maintenance project for the parish council.

In 2016 it had to be closed because of unsafe ramps and residents called for it to be replaced.

The parish council said that would cost tens of thousands of pounds and needed ’careful thought and planning’.

Minor repairs have been made, but the future of the skatepark remains unresolved.