TWENTY-TWO new playgrounds are to open in Hounslow in a bid to tackle spiralling rates of childhood obesity.

Hounslow Council won a £1.1m grant from the Government to refurbish old play areas and create new open spaces for children as part of a plan to increase physical activity and reduce childhood obesity, which affects a quarter of 11-year-olds in parts of the borough.

Eleven new play areas will be opened by March 2010 across the borough in parks and open spaces including Redlees Park, Heston Park and Westmacott Play Space and a further 11 sites will open by March 2011.

Thirty-nine per cent of Hounslow's 11-year-olds are overweight, compared with 33 per cent nationally. An NHS

report earlier this year warned Hounslow's young people today could have shorter life expectancies than their parents because of obesity.

Hounslow's executive member for children's services and family, Councillor Lin Davies, said: "The new play areas will help Hounslow reach its targets to encourage physical activity and reduce childhood obesity, as well as provide social benefits for all families. "We hope that these areas will meet the needs of the local children, young people and communities and that they will be enjoyed for years to come."

Nineteen of the 22 locations have already been identified but Hounslow Council has pledged to consult with residents over the location of the other three and the designs of all 22.


**To open in March 2010: * Midsummer Avenue, Hounslow **Chester Road, Hounslow **Wesley Road Play - Sutton Lane Estate, Hounslow **Homefields Recreation Ground, Chiswick **South Road Open Space, Hanworth **Heston Park, Heston **Redlees Park, Isleworth **Westmacott Play Space, Feltham **Grosvenor Park, Feltham **Jersey Gardens, Osterley **Avenue Park, Hounslow **To open in March 2011: **Grove Village, Bedfont **Oriel Estate, Hanworth **Haverfield Estate, Brentford **Harvard Hill Park, Isleworth **Hounslow Shopping Centre, Hounslow **Ludlow Road, Feltham * Salisbury Road, Hounslow **Crane Park, Hounslow **Three to be confirmed