Anger over fence removal at play areas in Hitchin
A COUNCIL is putting children in danger by removing fences around play areas, a community action group claims. Hitchin Forum is concerned that North Herts District Council has made the move in parks across the town, including Ransom s Rec, Brook View and
A COUNCIL is putting children in danger by removing fences around play areas, a community action group claims.
Hitchin Forum is concerned that North Herts District Council has made the move in parks across the town, including Ransom's Rec, Brook View and Smithson's Rec.
Forum secretary Rosemary Read said: "For many years play areas have been protected from dogs and older children's games, and toddlers have been prevented from running off in the direction of busy roads.
"In both Ransom's and Brook View there is now little to prevent a small child from falling into nearby streams or getting onto a busy road.
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"In Smithson's Rec a child could be on Old Park Road before a parent or carer has even noticed they are missing. We also note that the wire netting fence between the grassed area and Upper Tilehouse Street has been removed, with the likelihood that footballs and their owners could end up in the traffic.
"With the serious risk of diseases with dog excrement, the propensity of small children to rush off without warning and the very real possibility of a child being attacked by a dangerous dog, it is very surprising that play areas are left totally unprotected."
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But the council said the authority had followed advice from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents and had looked at each play area on an individual basis.
A spokesman said: "In Ransom's Rec and the Smithson playground it was felt that the wooden fencing was in poor condition and that the areas would be improved by having open space around the play equipment.
"Officers looked at the issue again in response to comments from the public and have decided to install metal fencing, which will give a much more open appearance to the parks than the previous solid wooden fencing and will be far more flexible and durable.
"Fencing has been installed at Smithson's even though an independent risk assessment said it wasn't necessary. The situation is the same at Ransom's and fencing is on order and due to be installed in the very near future.