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All tumbling down in Swindon playground
SWINDON Council plans to make a former play area safe following calls for urgent action after a seven-year-old girl broke her arm there last month.
The area, between Cottington Close and Crawford Close in Freshbrook, was decommissioned more than 10 years ago, leaving behind a 5ft boundary wall.
There was also several cracked smaller walls inside and a concrete mound which once supported a slide.
Last month, mum Gemma Timur, 27, threatened to sue the council after her daughter Ayse slipped and fell from a boundary wall she was sitting on. She fell against the wall and broke her right arm and cut her forehead.
Parents said they had warned the council the area was an accident waiting to happen because children still played on the old walls.
They claimed they had repeatedly called for it to be either grassed over or replaced with a new play area.
Earlier this week, the Adver reported the authority had responded that it did not have the cash to sort the problem, although it would conduct monthly checkups to remove any lose bricks.
However, Bernie Brannan, the board director for service delivery, has now sent an email to Coun Cindy Matthews (Lab, Lydiard and Freshbrook) to say the existing walls need to be taken down. He said a specification was being proposed and detailed proposals would be shown to ward members once it is worked up.
Coun Matthews said: “They were the dangerous bits, I think they’re going to make it safer and I’m pleased about that. We couldn’t really be a responsible authority without making the area safe for residents.
“The people that live there would love to see the playground reinstated but I accept that’s probably not on the cards as we’ve got one down the road and they’ve got budget problems.
“I think it needs to be made safe. First of all the response I got from the property department was that it didn’t have any money at all. But when you’ve got leaning walls, that’s not adequate, is it? They can suddenly fall down. And a lot of young children play there.”
Coun Matthews added that she could not account for the change of heart but felt the pressure from herself and parents helped to get something done.
Steven Male, 51, a father-of-three, who lives next to Gemma in Cottington Close, said: “It’s much better if they’re going to grass it instead of leaving it with concrete and walls.
“They found some money obviously. At least no one will fall off a wall again or a wall won’t fall on them.”
A council spokesman said: “Work to remove the walls was discussed on site with local councillors a few weeks ago, and the job will begin on Monday, all being well.
“Once the walls are removed we will talk to them again to get their views and ideas for its use in future.”