Mum calls for action on ‘neglected’ children’s play area in Bognor

Sally-Anne Watson one of the mothers concerned about the general condition of the playground and the gates of the playground which does not have a latch, which she has to make secure herself..
Sally-Anne Watson one of the mothers concerned about the general condition of the playground and the gates of the playground which does not have a latch, which she has to make secure herself..

A ‘neglected’ children’s play area in Bognor Regis needs to be improved by the council, according to one mum.

Sally-Anne Watson, who visits the Hothampton Play Area with her seven-year-old daughter, described how the gates are unsafe, most of the walls are not high enough, while there are also a number of gaps as well as holes in the perimeter fencing.

She raised concerns not only about child safety but also of dogs being able to enter the play area, which is next to the health centre between the sunken gardens and the car park.

She said: “We feel thoroughly neglected not to mention ignored.”

A number of emails have been sent to Arun District Council and while dog mess has been removed and the walls repaired she felt the response was ‘inadequate’.

One of the gates has no working latch so parents often tie it closed with string, although the post is not actually attached to the fence next to it.

Meanwhile other parts of the fence would collapse ‘with a push’.

Sally-Anne described how they were a dozen places where a dog could enter the park or a child could climb straight out ‘in the blink of an eye’ either on to the road or into the car park.

She added: “It’s unacceptable having dogs coming in and charging around.”

She continued: “If we are waiting for an accident to happen before it’s repaired then shame on the council.”

This comes after several Bognor Regis town councillors also called for action at a meeting last Monday.

Labour’s Jan Cosgrove said the current situation presented a ‘clear danger to children’.

He added: “This matter is taking far too long to resolve. There are clear safety implications.”

Lib Dem Matt Stanley agreed, adding: “I think the reason given that we do not want to upset Arun is not a reason not to send a letter.”

But fellow Lib Dem Martin Smith said since the town council had already sent two letters to Arun whether a new tactic was required.

Independent-aligned Conservative Adam Cunard suggested because Arun recently opened a new play park on the seafront and also has its Linear Park plans that the Hothampton Play Area may end up closing.

He explained: “We do not want to go in too heavy because we might lose the park.”

Conservative Pat Dillon said he would raise the issues with Arun at an upcoming meeting he was attending.

A spokesman for Arun District Council said: “Arun District Council formally inspects all of its play areas weekly and has reviewed the independent risk assessments for this site. There have be no historical or current issues with dogs or dog fouling in this play area and the level of risk identified for this play area is low.

“There are some outstanding works due at this site and the council will continue to inspect the play area and carry out further works where required.”