Joint attack on Hyde over ‘dangerous’ Midhurst playground

Midhurst county councillor Kate O'Kelly and resident Michael Ralph on 'dangerous' playground. Photo by Derek Martin.
Midhurst county councillor Kate O'Kelly and resident Michael Ralph on 'dangerous' playground. Photo by Derek Martin.

Midhurst’s new county councillor Kate O’Kelly has taken up the fight for action over the ‘dangerous’ state of the Holmbush Estate play area.

Town councillors have had a long running battle with the Hyde housing association over the dangers posed by broken glass and ‘shoddy’ equipment in the play area. But they have been unable to get Hyde to move to improve the situation.

“I know Hyde has been very slow about doing anything,” Cllr O’Kelly told a full meeting of the council.

She told the Observer: “There are two main issues, the play area is dangerous for young children and it is a waste of a resource – it is a green space and play area near to many young families and not being used.

She said it was brought to her attention by Holmbush resident Michael Ralph: “He takes it upon himself to clear up around the area and is upset that families are unable to use it.

“The fence enclosing the area is broken and has fallen down in parts, so although there is a notice for a dog free area on the gate, dogs are able to use it. There is glass all over the basketball area, and there is rubbish including glass strewn around. There are some bins that are full, they look as if they are rarely emptied. The equipment looks shoddy and rusty.

“When I visited the site we talked to a young mum who said she wouldn’t dream of letting her son play there because it is too dangerous with glass on the football field.”

West Sussex County Council’s (WSCC) communities officer Pete Lawrence has also visited the site. “He suggested Hyde had a duty of care and a joint formal complaint from WSCC, Chichester District Council and the town council could be a way forward.”

Mr Ralph said: “I have been complaining for at least four years. The biggest issue is the broken fence where dogs get in and foul the play area. The posts are rotten and this is neglect not vandalism. It is a long hard struggle to get anything done.”

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