Wednesday, 19 January 2022

Playground equipment dilemma

PLAYGROUND equipment in Whitchurch will be repaired or replaced.

Parish councillors are divided over which option to choose so it is to carry out a survey of users.

The equipment and surface at the playground off Manor Road needs more than £30,000 worth of repairs, most of which would be spent on replacing the rubber surface as it is uneven.

Councillor Katherine Higley said the parish council could be liable if a child was to have an accident.

She said the playground had been neglected and regular maintenance work had not been carried out.

Cllr Higley said: “The overwhelming majority of safety recommendations from our reports have not been put in place.

“There’s a hole in the flooring. In summer it was a crack, this morning I could get my fist in. We can’t leave it like that.

“Almost every single piece of equipment needs repairing. There has been some talk of taking out the climbing frame. There’s been a lot of resistance to that — I’ve spoken to 21 children who are adamant that they don’t want their climbing frame taken away, they want it repaired.”

Councillor Carrie Leadbeater-Hart said: “I think that playground is very old style. I would look at replacing all the equipment and putting in completely new equipment.

“We need a bit of diversity and to engage with modern styles of play.”

Council chairman Jim Donahue suggested the women form a working group to look at the playground but they said they could not work together.

The council agreed that maintenance work should not take place until after a decision on replacing the equipment had been made.

Cllr Leadbeater-Hart and Councillor Paul O’Grady will carry out the survey and Cllr Higley will look at what maintenance can be undertaken before any equipment is replaced.

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