Call for ‘killer’ car park to be secured
5:30am Thursday 20th February 2014 in By Dominic Gilbert
CALLS have been made to secure the Wyvern Theatre car park ahead of its demolition later in the year after 17-year-old Ashley McKinnon fell to his death on Thursday.
Toby Robson, 43, pulled a woman back from the roof of the car park in November, and said the latest development was too predictable.
“Sadly this was not a surprise at all,” he said. “That is what has made me so angry. It was a complete inevitability. After the incident I was involved in this was an accident waiting to happen, and I am absolutely furious. It was just so predictable.
“The response to events like this is often to shrug their shoulders, but there is now a whole litany of these incidents, not only in this car park but around the town. “I have counted up at least four fatalities from the Wyvern car park. Putting it in context, if there had been a stretch of road which had seen four deaths, money would have been spent to change the layout of that road.”
Ashley’s friends and family have paid tribute to him and said the fall may have been an accident.
His girlfriend Atlanta Holmes said he regularly went up to the car park to find space to think.
The car park is due to be demolished later in the year.
“Last year it was said the car park would be closed by Christmas, but that has not happened,” said Toby.
“The simplest option now would be to close the top deck. “If it is already earmarked for closure, why not shut it up now?
“There is an extra incentive to close the old car park.” “Two deaths and the incident I was involved in over the space of six months is crazy.
“I understand that the council does not have money to burn, but if they have invested all this money into the new car park, you have to ask why this one is still open.
“You could say that it would not cost a huge amount of money to put in some low barriers. “If people are in a vulnerable position at a given time, there is a window at which they are at risk. “In all public places you try to minimise that risk and make it as safe as you can. It is a public and moral responsibility.
“Of course nothing is totally safe. You could say no car is completely safe, but we still have seat belts and air bags installed.
“People acknowledge this is a risk, and traffic wardens have been given some training but nothing more meaningful than that has been done.
“It is beyond belief this car park is still open. I do not think any individual bears sole responsibility for this, but a decision has to be made.”
A spokesman for Swindon Council said: “All of our patrolling car park staff are trained to be vigilant for vulnerable people in our multi-storey car parks and will respond accordingly. We have put up posters in our car parks urging distressed or depressed people to contact Swindon Samaritans.
“The Council’s Cabinet also approved a car park strategy which will see the closure of some of our older car parks. Our modern car parks, such as Whalebridge have larger barriers on their rooftops to minimise incidents.”