Published: November 7, 2012
Anger over two-year wait for 'vital' play area safety improvements

Angry residents have this week hit out at district council bosses after they said vital safety improvements for two public play areas will not go ahead until the year 2014.

Town councillors are unhappy that Teresa Harvey, Sedgemoor District Council's Group Manager of Community Development and Wellbeing, says work to improve the play areas in Talbot Close (pictured above) and Stilings Close is not scheduled to begin for two years because neither has a high priority and no staff are available to oversee the work.

At a meeting on Monday (November 5th), town councillors vented their frustrations over the delays.

Cllr Louise Parkin said: "Talbot Close is out of sight and sadly out of mind for Sedgemoor. It has been overlooked for many years and nothing will get done until there's an accident here. It's a ridiculous situation that can't go on. There will be a heck of an injury claim."

Town Clerk Eileen Shaw admitted that the Town Council "seems to be up against a brick wall with no progress in getting the work done."

Cllr Dennis Davey suggested that because the 'RLT2' funding allocated to improving the play areas is time-limited that the Town Council undertake the improvements and charge the work to Sedgemoor when it is complete. "The money may be lost altogether if it's not started soon, so I suggest we do it ourselves."

But Cllr Neville Jones said he would be concerned about insurance at the play area if the Town Council were to proceed. "If a child was injured in an accident after the Town Council had refurbished the play area, would we be responsible or would it be Sedgemoor as the owner?"

And Cllr Helen Groves also aired concerns. "Improvements are desperately needed here, but I don't see why we should take on Sedgemoor's responsibilities. The district council needs to make proper provision for the park."

Cllr Chris Williams said that "clear guidelines are needed from Sedgemoor District Council before any work is undertaken. We need to meet with the park officers and ensure that if we carry out any work that they will refund the costs and that proper safeguards are put in place for the Town Council."

Tina Gray from Highbridge Residents Association, pictured at the Talbot Close play area, recently told Burnham-On-Sea.com: "It's such a shame that such a well-used play area as this has not been touched by the council since it was built many years ago."

Town councillors hope to meet Sedgemoor's park team in the coming weeks to discuss the matter further. Burnham-On-Sea.com recently featured the park's condition here. Cllr Alan Miller supported this and added that he would want to be involved, having campaigned on the matter for several years.

Pictured: Top, Tina Gray from Highbridge Residents Association at the Talbot Close play area and, centre, the play area in Highbridge's Stiling Close and, above, the town council in its meeting

 


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