A COUNCILLOR has been criticised for ordering changes to a children's playground without his colleagues' approval.
A COUNCILLOR has been criticised for ordering changes to a children’s playground without his colleagues’ approval.
Last month Stefan Gawrysiak asked Kompan, which rebuilt the toddler playground at Mill Meadows a year ago, to replace two of the four flat-seated swings at the site with cradle seats for infants.
His request followed two Henley parents’ complaints in August that more cradle seats were needed as the two existing ones attracted queues.
Councillor Gawrysiak enquired about the cost of the work and was told it could be carried out for free so he told Kompan to proceed.
The seats were sent to the town hall but were not installed after concerns were raised that this had not been approved by the council’s recreation and amenities committee.
At a meeting of the authority’s parks sub-committee last Friday, members recommended that the work should not be carried out and councillors should be reminded not to act outside their powers.
They said the flat swings and cradle swings should move to opposite ends of the playground so different age groups can play separately.
Councillor Sam Evans, the chairman, said: “I was utterly shocked when Cllr Gawrysiak told me that he’d taken it upon himself to do that. I couldn’t believe one councillor thought it was his right to make a decision on the council’s behalf based on two people’s comments.
“He got them for free but that’s beside the point — it isn’t how we do things. It is wholly inappropriate for any councillor to act like that.”
Councillor Kellie Hinton said: “I use that playground and there are queues for the other swings too. I would have strongly opposed this if I’d had the chance to comment.”
Gareth Bartle, the park’s services manager, said: “You can’t make decisions based on complaints about queueing. It’s a testament to how popular the equipment is.”
Councillor Gawrysiak, who was not present at the meeting, said: “I always try to solve problems and don’t think I’ve acted beyond my powers. The swings can be changed over in about 10 minutes so it’s a very flexible arrangement.”