New �50k play area equipment declared ‘unsafe’

A new adventure park in Stevenage costing �52,000 was shut last week amid safety concerns.

Children were barred from using the newly installed play equipment at Whitesmead Recreation Ground in Stevenage by the borough council after fears that equipment was dangerous, just two weeks after it opened.

The whole site in the Old Town was cordoned off on Wednesday by council officers.

A neighbour who raised the alarm said he called the authority after spotting what he thought was a flaw in the design of a tower and bridge climbing frame.

Andrew O’Connell said: “They just spent three weeks installing play equipment. I thought one item was particularly unsafe. One particular thing which was about eight feet high – there was one bit where I thought a child could fall.

“I just thought to myself that looks a bit dodgy. It had a big open gap where the kids would slide down a pole. But if someone missed the pole they’d fall about eight feet to the floor.

“Now it’s all been taped off with notices saying ‘equipment unsafe’.”

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A council spokesman said the closure was a short term arrangement until an inspection could be carried out to determine the extent of the problem.

He said a full inspection was carried out on Thursday of all the new equipment resulting in a call to the contractors Park Leisure to make the climbing frame safe.

Workmen installed additional bracing to the piece of equipment on Tuesday, before the play area was fully reopened.