Planners pledge review after hundreds sign Letchworth mum’s petition for fencing at Howard Park play areas

Packed: Families enjoy the Howard Park splash area amid the heatwave on Tuesday. Photo: Alex Shafare

Packed: Families enjoy the Howard Park splash area amid the heatwave on Tuesday. Photo: Alex Shafarenko

A Letchworth mum’s petition calling for fencing to help keep children safe at the town’s play areas has been signed more than 500 times in a week – and planners say they are going to review the situation.

Trained childminder Chianna Bailey’s online petition, addressed to North Herts District Council, is very complimentary of Howard Park and its facilities – but it argues that safeguarding standards are not met.

The reasoning is that with busy roads around the site and a kiosk and toilet block separating the splash park and the playground, it can be nigh-on impossible to watch more than one young child at once.

“The importance of safeguarding is reiterated over and over in my training and Ofsted guidelines,” the petition reads, in part.

“To enjoy a park with more than one child, you need to be able to let the children have free play when they need it, whilst keeping a watchful eye on them. Having the additional safety net of having a fence with a gate surrounding the area is very important.”

Chianna’s supporters include Natasha Glynn, from Arlesey, who commented: “I have stopped going to the splash park as my toddler runs off the towards the road when I’m paying attention to my newborn. A fence around the splash park would enable us to enjoy the park safely.”

Councillor Jane Gray, who is in charge of leisure at the district council, told the Comet yesterday: “An independent risk assessment of the play area is undertaken each year.

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“However, we do recognise that some of our parks have in a way become a victim of their own popularity in terms of the large number of people who visit.

“While we are guided by safety recommendations that parks and play areas should remain open and accessible, due to the many families with young children attending during the summer months, we will conduct a review of the situation.”

To read the petition in full search for ‘Letchworth playgrounds’ at