MIDDLEWICH’S mayor has praised the Guardian for launching a campaign to fight for better playgrounds in the town.

Clr Simon McGrory is backing the Fair Play campaign and agrees with frustrated parents and community groups that many parks have been ‘suffering from neglect’.

He said: “I'd like to thank David Morgan from the Guardian for taking up the issue of play facilities in Middlewich.

“For a long time now Middlewich has had little improvements and upkeep to it's parks and play areas.

“Cheshire East Council uses a simple formula when deciding if any new housing developments should provide new play facilities - and they enforce this rigidly.

“But it is the existing areas that are the ones suffering most from neglect and little or no maintenance.”

A petition started by nine-year-old Owen Hughes, who plays at Booth Lane skate park, now has more than 100 signatures online on the Middlewich Guardian website.

But we will need many more to ensure a positive impact.

With 1,000 signatures, a senior council officer will have to give evidence on the matter at a public meeting.

More than 1,500 signatures will trigger a debate at a full council meeting.

Clr McGrory, of King Street, added: “As town mayor and a Middlewich First councillor, I firmly believe that this concerted effort by the Guardian to galvanise support for improvements is one we should all get behind.

“I know there may be no magic wand with a pot of gold behind it, but if we don't make any noise no one will hear us, and Cheshire East Council will continue to look the other way.”

- To sign ‘Owen’s petition’ appealing for better, safer play areas, visit middlewichguardian.co.uk

- For details on starting a community group to become a ‘friend’ of your park or play area, contact Sue Johns on 07903783129 or email SSuzanneJohns@aol.com

- If you would like your play area to be featured in the Fair Play campaign, send brief details about the problems you have experienced there by email to david.morgan@nqnw.co.uk or write to Fair Play, Winsford & Middlewich Guardian, 3 Theatre Court, London Road, Northwich, CW9 5HB