Parents organise protest rally to save Bedford’s play park fort

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Parents and grandparents battling to save the Russell Park play fort are holding a peaceful protest rally on Saturday.

The wooden structure is due to be demolished by Bedford Borough Council next month.

The first families knew of this was when a terse notice was posted at the play park stating; “This structure is beginning to rot and will not be replaced.”

Already almost 2,000 people have signed a petition urging the council to either repair or replace the equipment.

A Facebook page called Resurrect Russell Park fort has created a social media storm.

Mayor Dave Hodgson says it is “not feasible” for the council to repair the structure, and more than £150,000 has already been invested in Russell Park play equipment over recent years.

But families are fuming and say the fort will be missed by thousands of people.

“We estimate it would cost around £6,000 to repair and £50,000 to replace. People from all over the borough, of all nationalities use this fort. It is a leveller socially and economically,” said one dad.

Beds times and Citizen editor Olga Norford is a regular visitor to the fort with her five grandchildren.

She said; “I regularly take the children to Russell Park and the fort is their favourite piece of equipment. They spend hours climbing on it and pretending to be kings of the castle.

“It will leave a huge gap in the play facilities at the park and will be missed by thousands of families in Bedford.”

Protestors are gathering by the fort at 3pm on Saturday. All are welcome to join, with accompanying children.

You can sign the petition, which will be sent to Mayor Dave, on https://www.change.org/p/dave-hodgson-bedford-gov-uk-replace-play-equipment-at-russell-park-bedford.