Campaigners braved bitter winds and sudden downpours - mixed in with some lovely sunshine - on Saturday in their continued battle to save a playground in east Reading.

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.

Parents, protesters and community leaders met with councillor Sarah Hacker, lead member for Culture, Heritage and Culture, to discuss the planned closure of the play area.

Local parents and representatives of the Pakistani Community Centre and Reading Family Forum attended the meeting, expressing their concern that the children of Newtown would lose access to a valuable community resource.

The council will conduct a public consultation on the future of play equipment in Palmer Park but this will focus on the Wokingham Road side playground.

Cllr Hacker reiterated, however, that the ERAPA equipment will not be replaced once it comes to the end of its life.

Sara Davies, of the Save ERAPA campaign, said there had been positives, including Cllr Hacker committing to install fully wheelchair accessible equipment at all parks in Reading.

However, she said there had been no reversal of the council’s plans to entirely focus on the Wokingham Road side play area.

She added: “Cllr Hacker could not produce specific figures around the cost of maintaining two play areas in Palmer Park.

“Considering that this has been the councils main justification for closing ERAPA, it was disappointing that these figures are still not being made available.

“Nor could Cllr Hacker produce any figures around the cost of installing accessible play equipment in the other parks in Reading to justify her stance that by keeping ERAPA the council would be depriving other parts of town in need of play equipment.

“Without these figures it is of course impossible to know whether this is true or not.”

Cllr Hacker responded: “I couldn’t provide figures for new equipment because the consultation and design hasn’t been completed.”

added: “There will be full consultation with disabled children and their parents so any new equipment is what they actually want and need.

“This will be across the town. Other parks need far more work to be accessible. Children across town should be able to access play facilities.”

A petition set up by Green councillor Josh Williams to save the playground received over 1,200 supporters but was rejected at a meeting of the Full Council on Tuesday, March 26.

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.

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