Council park safety move ‘madness’

A council has been criticised after it removed wooden stakes from a play area over fears they posed an accident risk to children.

It seems health and safety chiefs felt there was an undue risk of harm and subsequent accident claims posed by the stakes at Power Park in Worcester.

Workers took out the wooden stakes from the English Civil War-themed park, that commemorates a famous local battle, after health and safety officers decided there was a risk associated with children climbing the pillars.

Stakes ‘too small’

The council apparently felt it could have been faced with injured children and accident claims as it explained the stakes were too small in diameter, meaning they could not necessarily withstand the force of children swinging on them.

A Worcester City Council spokesman confirmed the poles were “in danger of snapping” when they were played on.

However, one parent voiced his disagreement about the move, arguing the poles did not present an undue health and safety risk.

Andrew Howell, a 45-year-old parent from Worcester, said: “It’s utter nonsense that these stakes were a health risk.

“The children would have to shimmy up the poles to reach the spikes and then somehow hurl themselves onto them – it’s ridiculous.”

He also suggested the stakes were a good way for children to learn about history while they played given that they commemorated a local battle.

Bigger accident claims risk

Mr Howell even intimated that there is now a bigger risk of injuries and slips, trips and falls as a result of the action that has been taken.

“Ironically, what we now have is the posts cut down to about waist height but they are more of a hazard with kids tripping over them,” he claimed.

The father-of-three even accused the council of being “health and safety zealots”.

Health and safety rules ‘misused’

Meanwhile the Taxpayers’ Alliance described the council’s decision as “utterly barmy”.

Its campaign director Robert Oxley spoke out as it emerged that Worcester City Council, which has now deemed the stakes a risk, gave £45,000 worth of funding for the project to revamp the park in 2011 when the wooden stakes were put up.

“Too often health and safety rules are cited as a reason for stopping children from having fun, regardless of whether there are genuine risks,” he said.

“Yet, if the spikes pose a danger to children the question has to be asked why they were included in the design in the fist place, let alone erected.”

Source: Daily Mail

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