A ‘well-loved’ accessible play area in east Reading could be closed as the council focuses limited funds on a nearby facility.

Plans to remove the East Reading Adventure Playground Association (ERAPA) play area in Palmer Park have been opposed by a petition of more than a thousand people.

Green councillor Josh Williams said the council intends to remove the London Road side facility within the next 12 months.

Cllr Williams said: “This play equipment is hugely well-used and well-loved by families and children from all across East Reading.

“The play equipment was designed to be accessed by disabled children meaning everyone can play.

“Please, Reading Council, when the equipment is no longer usable – replace it and let children continue to play.”

The ERAPA play area is one of two facilities in the park, with the council preferring to invest its reduced funding into the play area next to Wokingham Road.

Councillors and campaigners have raised concern over losing the London Road side play area.

Alice Carter said: “I’ve been trying to raise the lack of play equipment for wheelchair users for years and RBC don’t seem to get it. Disabled kids need to play too.”

Ethan Davies added: “Children should have somewhere safe to go and play. Playgrounds like this one that are accessible by disabled children need to be looked after, not torn down.”

A council spokesman said: “A single larger play facility better serves people’s needs than two small playgrounds with less equipment and a degree of duplication.

“The council has significantly invested in the play area it owns next to Wokingham Road and the Palmer café. This play area is extremely popular and well used by people from across Reading."

RBC plans to invest further in this facility, including more accessible equipment.

The council believes the cost of maintaining separate areas in the park is not sustainable due to a ‘significant’ reduction in funding for play facility maintenance from 2018/19.

ERAPA purchased and installed the play equipment at the play area on the London Road side.

When the community group closed, the council agreed to retain the equipment and carry out regular maintenance and safety checks and remove items as they failed.

The American company that provided the play equipment no longer exists and the equipment it provided do not comply with EU safety standards – so the entire site would be need to be replaced and a new playground built.

The Wokingham Road side play area was extended in 2009 to include climbing rocks, a giant rope swing, several large accessible basket swings, a trampoline, table tennis tables and a large grass area for picnicking or ball games.