‘We take safety of play areas very seriously’

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Hailsham Town Council has hit back at safety concerns raised over a newly-installed children’s play area.

The council said it took the issue very seriously and facilities at the site off Quinnell Drive followed guidelines from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA).

A ‘concerned grandparent’ suggested in last week’s Herald that because the play area was unfenced children could be at risk from dogs or flying footballs. They also said the site could have been covered with a rubberised surface instead of bark, which might attract fouling by cats.

Hailsham Town Council said, “The operative that installs, inspects and maintains the council’s play areas is fully RoSPA trained on how best to equip play areas safely while allowing for the best play opportunities. RoSPA’s advice is that closed-in and fenced-in play areas are not best practice and we have installed this area according to their advice.

“It is not the case that footballs or dogs will present a significant risk to children in the play area. It is reasonable to expect that dog owners will keep control of their animals and that parents will look after their children or grand-children using the area, as can reasonably be expected in any park.

The council’s safety measures will ensure that the Quinnell Drive play area is inspected three times per day for the time being. After this initial period it will be subject to a detailed inspection on a monthly basis and an annual safety audit.

“The suggestion of a rubberised surface for the area would have cost in the region of £30,000 instead of £1,500 for the surface used. That is simply not affordable to the council.

“The surface of the play area has been covered with British Safety Standard compliant bark – again a RoSPA recommended surface that has a very reduced likelihood of fouling.”

The council said the ‘concerned grandparent’ suggested it was previously covered with something else – however it has always been covered with bark.

The council was happy to discuss the issues directly with the individual concerned.