Sunday, 17 December 2017

‘Noisy’ tyre swing set to be replaced

EQUIPMENT at the adventure playground in Henley could be replaced following complaints from nearby residents about noise.

EQUIPMENT at the adventure playground in Henley could be replaced following complaints from nearby residents about noise.

The town council has put signs up outside the park to inform children that use of the play area in Mill Meadows is banned after 5pm in the winter and 7pm in the summer.

Now it has agreed to form a working group to discuss replacing the tyre swing, which is said to cause the most noise.

The move comes three years after the adventure playground was refurbished at a cost of £60,000 and neighbours threatened the council with possible legal action if it wasn’t moved.

Suzanne Yeates, of Meadow Road, told members of the council’s Mill Meadows and river sub-committee that the “noise nuisance” had continued.

“Our health and wellbeing is a serious issue for us,” she said. “I am grateful for the signage that has gone up but could the committee consider how they are actually going to enforce the opening and closing times?

“This will be an issue for the police community support officers or are we as residents going to go out there and tell people?

“Locking the playground would be a huge step forward — if you want us to do that we would be up for that. Anything just to give us a few hours of peace would be helpful.”

Mrs Yeates, who is events manager of the Henley Festival, said that balancing blocks would be an effective piece of equipment to reduce noise.

“It is the pieces that involve concentration that make the children be quiet,” she said. “Anything that involves swinging with three to four children together is very noisy.

“We wish children to have a wonderful playground but common sense must prevail that it cannot sit 10 metres from our boundary.”

Committee chairman Stefan Gawrysiak said the council had not wanted to move the playground on the grounds of cost and the suitability of its location.

He said: “At the moment there is no intention to lock the playground but it is our intention to inform the Pcsos of this sign and ask them to swing by regularly and I would ask the park staff to do the same.

“The sign was put there to reinforce that this is a playground near to a residential area to try to engender some respect in terms of noise.”

He agreed to investigate possible alternatives to the tyre swing.

Cllr Gawrysiak said: “Two to three children swinging and having a good time means you get noise and screaming.

“With the balance blocks you cannot scream and shout and have a conversation with your friends when you are concentrating.”

Mayor Liz Hodgkin said: “I have got a feeling that we have a piece of equipment similar to blocks so we have already got the balancing aspect.”

Councillor Jeni Wood said: “We did almost two years of work on this, with every kind of group, including parents. We did not just throw it together.”

She said a basket swing had been removed for reasons of noise, which upset her because it could be used by disabled children.

Councillor Sam Evans said: “We have tinkered around the edges of this for so long. The ideal would be to move it. I know we can’t but it should be where the bowling green is.”

The committee agreed to form the working group that will include Mrs Yeates and her husband.

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