A MOTHER has launched a petition to see if improvements can be made to a Bishop Auckland play area.

Jane Thornton, of Ravensworth Avenue, lives around the corner from Cockton Hill Recreation Ground but said she often feels she has to take her five-year-old daughter further afield because the equipment is unsuitable.

The 36-year-old said she has a vague recollection of the play area being installed when she was younger and has seen very little happen to it other than a lick of paint since then.

She said: “So many children could be enjoying it but it is in a bad state and there is not much there.

“It has been there for years but it hasn’t had anything done to it.

“There is often dog mess everywhere and alcohol bottles and smashed glass. People have told me they have found needles in there before.

I know that can happen anywhere but even the bridge is broken and they have just stuck a bit of wood over the gap. It is not a nice place to be.

“There was a bin but this was taken out and so the kids on a night just dump their rubbish.”

Mrs Thornton said nearby parks have been refurbished and the same needs to happen to Cockton Hill. She said some equipment has been removed in the past but the space has just been left to grass over.

“I am not sure what will happen once the petition has been submitted but I hope they will do something,” she added.

Oliver Sherratt, Durham County Council’s head of direct services, said: “We fully recognise the importance of children’s play facilities, and indeed we have been undertaking a play space refurbishment scheme at 45 sites across County Durham with funding of £1.75 million coming from developers, Area Action Partnerships and local members.

“As part of this, we have already completed refurbishment in Bishop Auckland at Jane Armstrong Park and will next be working in the Town Recreation Ground.

“Subject to available funding, we would be pleased to look at improvements at Cockton Hill Recreation Ground, and will consider the petition and engage with the local community regarding its aspirations for the site.

“In the meantime we will be continuing with day to day maintenance and carrying out repairs as required.”

To sign the petition, which has 146 signatures, visit change.org/p/durham-county-council-cockton-hill-rec-needs-to-be-updated