Safety fears over former play park in Swindon
5:37pm Tuesday 21st August 2012 in By David Wiles
MUM Gemma Timur is threatening to sue Swindon Council after her seven-year-old daughter was seriously injured by falling from a wall around a crumbling former play area in Freshbrook.
The play area, between Cottington Close and Crawford Close, was decommissioned more than 10 years ago, leaving a 5ft boundary wall, with several cracked smaller walls inside and a concrete mound which once supported a slide.
Parents say they have long warned the council the area is an accident waiting to happen because children still play on the old walls – and claim they have long called for it to be either grassed over or replaced with a new play area.
On Sunday, Gemma says her daughter Ayse was sitting on the boundary wall, trying to help another child up, when she slipped and fell, hitting her head and arm on the wall.
Now the 27-year-old is threatening to sue the council over the incident, which left the Millbrook Primary School pupil with a broken right arm and a cut forehead.
Gemma, of Cottington Close, said: “It used to be a park, but they took the park away and they just left it like this. It should have been all taken down and made safe for the children who live around here.
“I’m going to sue them. It’s their fault because why have they left something like this for children? How is it going to be safe like this?
“And where would our children go to play? They would have to stay inside and not come out to play on their bikes or skateboards or scooters.”
Steven Male, 51, also of Cottington Close, who is a father of three, said: “It’s totally unsafe and it’s council-owned.
“And I would say they’re probably going to end up getting sued. At worst there will be a death one day in there.”
Janice Oliver, 61, who used to live in the area in the 1980s before moving to Peatmoor, emailed the council in March last year to warn that a child could be injured – but says she received no response, although she says she contacted a ward councillor who claimed an officer checked the condition occasionally.
The grandmother-of-four said: “Something has got to be done because it’s that dangerous someone will get killed.
“That little girl was quite seriously injured, but in a way she was lucky because she only had to fall awkwardly and she could have been killed.”
A Swindon Council spokesman said: “We are aware of the accident that happened at the weekend and are looking into the circumstances.
“The former play area at Cottington Close was closed many years ago.
“It’s not signed as a play area or advertised as one, and the council is looking at future uses for the site.
“There is another play area very near to Cottington Close, at Bloomsbury Close, which local children can use quite safely and was refurbished recently with new equipment at a cost of £50,000.”