Campaigners are continuing their battle to save a playground in east Reading after a petition was rejected by the council last month.

Alice Carter and John Hoggett have set up a Facebook group ‘Save ERAPA’ in their ongoing battle for failing equipment at the playground in Palmer Park to be replaced.

The campaigners have also organised a meeting with councillor Sarah Hacker, lead member for Culture, Heritage and Recreation, at the playground on Saturday, May 4 at 2pm.

Reading Borough Council (RBC) is planning to close the London Road side East Reading Adventure Playground – known as ERAPA – 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.

Alice Carter said her 10-year-old daughter, a full-time wheelchair user, ‘hasn’t really been able to play in any Reading playgrounds except ERAPA’.

She said the council ‘seems to have forgotten wheelchair users’ in its proposals and would ‘breach the equality act’ if it did not replace the ERAPA equipment more locally.

John Hoggett added: “We think that they need to listen to children and parents in Newtown, disabled children, their parents, disabled parents and the wider disabled community before making any plans about new play equipment.

“It is an important play area for the children of Newtown, an area of moderate deprivation.”

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.

Green Party Cllr Josh Williams wrote a letter to councillor Sarah Hacker, lead member for Culture, Heritage and Recreation, earlier this month, calling for a rethink.

He said: “I hope that, given the time to look at this further, you will be able to change your mind.

“ERAPA is a wonderful resource at a special location in a great local park.

“As a community we need play equipment installed at a range of locations in the park, to accommodate differing needs, and ERAPA does that beautifully.

“Its loss cannot be replaced by adding some equipment to the other, already larger, play area.”

Responding to the petition at the full council meeting last month, Cllr Hacker said a single larger play facility would be ‘far more inclusive than separating out disabled play’.

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.

Cllr Hacker said focusing on the Wokingham Road side playground would save money and better serve community needs.