Campaigners urged the council to reverse plans to close a playground with disabled access this week.

Reading Borough Council (RBC) is planning to close the London Road side East Reading Adventure Playground in Palmer Park due to budget concerns.

A petition with over 1,200 supporters was handed in to RBC at a meeting of the Full Council on Tuesday, March 26, at 6.30pm.

Sarah Watchman, presenting the petition, said: “Access to good parks and play equipment is so important to families.

“We hope that the council will change their minds and work with local charities, schools and the community to design a new play area and install it when the existing equipment has to go.”

Etta Whitehouse, a pupil at Newtown Primary School, said: “It is simply unfair. This is the only playground in Reading that can be accessed by children with disabilities and is constantly used.

“It is also the only play area in Newtown. I and many of my friends in Newtown strongly believe East Reading Adventure Playground should be replaced in the same location to give all children the opportunity to play and have fun for many years to come.”

The playground – built in the early 1990s – is one of two play areas in Palmer Park, with the council preferring to pool its funding into the Wokingham Road side facility.

RBC 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.

Councillor Sarah Hacker, lead member for Culture, Heritage and Recreation, said: “Not only is a single larger play facility far more inclusive than separating out disabled play, it also better serves community needs than two small playgrounds with less equipment and a degree of duplication in play items.

“The cost of maintaining separate areas is also greater.”

The East Reading Adventure Playground Association was originally responsible for purchasing and installing the equipment.

When the group closed, RBC agreed to take responsibility for the site but said it would remove items as they failed.

The petition, created in late January by the Green Party’s Cllr Williams, calls for the council to replace the equipment when it is no longer usable.

The council recently announced plans for a £2.7 million investment in parks and play improvements across Reading over the next three years, including enhancements to make playgrounds more accessible.