MORE playgrounds in Denbighshire could allow disabled children to play with their friends after a drive to increase accessibility in the county.

Mabon ap Gwynfor, county councillor for Llandrillo, called for Denbighshire County Council to improve the accessibility of its playgrounds last July after seeing children with disabilities in his own ward being denied the right to play.

He said this is due to a lack of planning and the need for upgraded playgrounds.

Now the authority has taken steps following Cllr ap Gwynfor’s call by agreeing to make an audit of its provision of disabled access playgrounds at its chairs and vice chairs scrutiny committee on Thursday, December 12.

This could help the council to identify which playgrounds would most benefit from improvements.

Following the meeting, Cllr ap Gwynfor said the council’s review is “excellent news” and could ensure that “no child in the future will miss out on playing with their friends”.

He said: “There are children in our communities who are being excluded from an opportunity to play with their friends because many of our playgrounds have no suitable equipment. I have children in my ward who have mobility issues and can’t join with their friends in the playgrounds. This is true across the county.

“The council has a programme of updating some of its playing parks at the moment, and we were asking that they consider the needs of disabled children. The authority carries out regular health and safety audits and have therefore agreed to carry out accessibility audits as well. This is excellent news.

“This information will allow playing ground planners to consider the needs of children with disabilities when they upgrade tour playgrounds, so that no child in the future will miss out on playing with their friends."

Disability Wales (DW), a leading campaign group run by disabled people to champion the rights, equality and independence of the disabled, praised Cllr ap Gwynfor's call and said the poor provision of disabled access playgrounds has been a national problem for eight years. A DW spokesperson said: “Disability Wales welcomes the steps taken by Cllr Mabon ap Gwynfor to raise awareness of poor playground provision for disabled children in the county.

“In 2010 local authorities in Wales were given a duty to ensure children and young people in their areas had access to secure and sufficient play areas. Eight years on, the provision for inclusive play areas that disabled children can use remains poor.

“It is disappointing that despite the legislation disabled children are missing out on their right to play. It is great to hear of the campaign in Denbighshire to increase access to playgrounds for disabled children [who] have the right to play in the same playgrounds as their non-disabled siblings and friends.

“We hope that the playground refurbishment programme by Denbighshire council will result in more inclusive playgrounds for disabled children in Denbighshire.”