Plug Pulled On Ely Play Park After Health And Safety Fears

PUBLISHED: 14:19 26 March 2009 | UPDATED: 10:49 04 May 2010

AN Ely park was set for a children s interactive water feature - but permission has been refused by the district council. Safety concerns prompted East Cambs District Council s community services committee to unanimously reject the design for Jubilee Gar

AN Ely park was set for a children's interactive water feature - but permission has been refused by the district council.

Safety concerns prompted East Cambs District Council's community services committee to unanimously reject the design for Jubilee Gardens, which would have seen a water pump, water wheel, a small weir and a water basin installed next to the Maltings.

Money was available for the project - £42,000 from the Government's £255 million Pathfinder play grant - on the condition that the play park had a water feature and was completed within the next month.

But councillors decided the area would attract ducks - and duck mess - and that without fencing the area would be unsafe.

"The Friends of Jubilee Gardens had concerns that even a small amount of water would attract ducks," said district councillor Sheila Friend-Smith, who is both a Friend of Jubilee Gardens and Ely's mayor.

"It's one of those things that looks lovely but when you think through the safety implications you could have a child playing where ducks and dogs had been. ROSPA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) is saying that our children are over-protected, and fencing is unfashionable now, apparently, but if you are a parent of more than one child you can't keep an eye on what each child is up to at all times," added Cllr Friend-Smith.

Allyson Broadhurst said: "At last night's meeting we debated at great length whether to approve the design of the play scheme in Jubilee Gardens. We took into account the need to improve the play areas in the gardens especially for the under-5s but in the end we all shared the concerns of the Friends of Jubilee Gardens and members of the public who felt the design was not appropriate for the park. More importantly the Government timescale for spending the money was very tight which meant we couldn't revise designs or properly talk to other companies to increase the options available. We have now asked officers to work up new proposals for the next phase of the Pathfinder grants to make sure we get the best design and appropriate facilities for Ely."

The county council was awarded more than £2million to build play areas in Cambridgeshire in February. Parson's Lane in Littleport has also benefitted - with work finishing this week.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Should the water feature have gone ahead?

Write to: the Ely Standard, 38 Market Street, Ely, Cambs, CB7 4LS or email the editor at: editor@ely-standard.co.uk

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