Residents’ anger as play area is stripped in Great Harwood

Disgruntled parents and children on the playground

Disgruntled parents and children on the playground

First published in Hyndburn Blackburn Citizen: Photograph of the Author by , Hyndburn reporter

EQUIPMENT at a popular children’s park in Great Harwood has been removed, to the anger of residents.

Swings and a climbing frame, with slides, monkey bars and a fireman’s pole, were removed from the park in Edge End after they became dangerous, local councillor Ciaran Wells said.

But one resident accused the council of ‘pulling the rug from under the feet’ of local children.

Gaenor Bridges, who lives in Edge End, said: “I am disgusted that Hyndburn Council treats residents of the borough in this way.

“It is a popular play area serving the local area as the nearest playground is over a 10 minute walk away, and obviously not suitable for children to be able to visit without parental supervision.

“Surely the children and parents would have liked to have had a say in the matter, and not had the rug pulled from under them.”

Youth justice worker Gaenor, 44, sent an e-mail to the council, and in a reply was told there were no funds to replace the ‘dangerous’ equipment that was ‘beyond economical repair’. She said: “The park was very popular. The football area has been falling down for years and is dangerous, but they’ve left that up.

“My gripe is that we did not know about it. It would have been easier to make it right than from to start from scratch.”

Independent councillor Ian Robinson, who has four children and 13 grandchildren, said councillors were looking at grants to replace the equipment.

“He said: “I have worked on this issue with officers involved.

Some of the play equipment was unsafe.

“We would be neglecting our duties if children went on the apparatus and they failed.

“We will be trying to get equipment back up and running on that park as soon as possible as well, because it’s used a great deal.

“We have a few parks in Great Harwood and some with Green Flag awards, which we are really proud of.”

Portfolio holder for education, leisure, and arts, Ciaran Wells, added: “It’s annoying because it’s the first since I have been on the council that has been removed, but it was unsafe.

“We are working on a plan to replace it.

“We have got an award-winning park in Lowerfold that residents can use, but I appreciate this is not in the immediate vicinity.

“We told the Community Action Group, so people did know about it.”

But Gaenor hit back.

She said:“The Community Action Group may have known about it, but nobody from around here is part of it.”

Comments (17)

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8:07pm Thu 23 Jan 14

useyourhead says...

new policy perhaps? get rid then there are no maintenance costs!
new policy perhaps? get rid then there are no maintenance costs! useyourhead
  • Score: 8

10:21pm Thu 23 Jan 14

2 for 5p ridesagain says...

Oh well never mind, you can't have everything in life just handed to you on a plate
Oh well never mind, you can't have everything in life just handed to you on a plate 2 for 5p ridesagain
  • Score: -9

10:42pm Thu 23 Jan 14

POW WOW says...

Elf & Safety gone mad !!!!!!!!!!!!!! They'll be uprooting the trees next to stop children climbing them !!!!!!!
Elf & Safety gone mad !!!!!!!!!!!!!! They'll be uprooting the trees next to stop children climbing them !!!!!!! POW WOW
  • Score: -2

10:43pm Thu 23 Jan 14

Malthus says...

The problem here lies with the litigatious culture that has developed over the years. Sadly if the Council were to leave the equipment in place and someone got injured you can bet that a claim would follow. Until society begins, once again, to accept that accidents do happen and children do get injured and that a no win no fee claim is not the automatic consequence of such instances we will see more and more facilities being removed.

We should also point the blame at those children that abuse such equipment too. All too often the defects that may cause injury are not down to normal "wear and tear", but instead they occur as a result of unruly children damaging items that are provided for them. Perhaps if the powers that be had the support of parents who enforced rules and discouraged vandalism it would be cost effective to maintain playground equipment.
The problem here lies with the litigatious culture that has developed over the years. Sadly if the Council were to leave the equipment in place and someone got injured you can bet that a claim would follow. Until society begins, once again, to accept that accidents do happen and children do get injured and that a no win no fee claim is not the automatic consequence of such instances we will see more and more facilities being removed. We should also point the blame at those children that abuse such equipment too. All too often the defects that may cause injury are not down to normal "wear and tear", but instead they occur as a result of unruly children damaging items that are provided for them. Perhaps if the powers that be had the support of parents who enforced rules and discouraged vandalism it would be cost effective to maintain playground equipment. Malthus
  • Score: 17

8:32am Fri 24 Jan 14

mastergx says...

The Government constantly remind us about the current epidemic of Child Obesity, and how it will become worse. Then do not make funds readily available to replace and renew these public excercise areas! They should be on every street corner.
The Government constantly remind us about the current epidemic of Child Obesity, and how it will become worse. Then do not make funds readily available to replace and renew these public excercise areas! They should be on every street corner. mastergx
  • Score: 3

9:50am Fri 24 Jan 14

shytalk says...

Wonder which developer is interested in the site.?
Wonder which developer is interested in the site.? shytalk
  • Score: 9

10:38am Fri 24 Jan 14

Pan-cake says...

@shytalk - an interesting can of worms. HBC is currently running a project to identify parcels of their land which can be sold off.
@Malthus - you are not correct in this case - the equipment was well past it's sell by date was dangerous and not economically repairable.
@ POWWOW - see above.
@2 for 5p rides again - not handed to the residents on a plate. Paid for out of their council tax.

The slide and climbing frame were declared unfit and to be removed back in September - no mention of the swings.

Now that ALL the equipment has been removed the children have effectively lost their play area. Despite Cllr Wells comments (treat quotes in the LT with caution though) my understanding is that there is no plan other than it may be up to residents to band together to obtain outside funding which is unavailable to the council. Err, that would be the residents who are currently up in arms at the loss of the facility.
It's unfortunate that local Councillors haven't preempted the current anger of residents by making moves to engage with them prior to the removal of equipment and perhaps had outside funding lined up for new kit.

As it is children have lost their playground with no replacement in sight.

The omens don't look good for any early resolution.

The portfolio holder for parks and open spaces is not seeking re-election in May and lives in Salford. A new portfolio holder after the election is likely to be from Accrington and have more enthusiasm for Woodnook than Great Harwood. Another Councillor commented that some new houses on the site would be a good addition to the townscape.

There again there is an election coming up so someone may be able to pull a rabbit out of the hat before May (as opposed to a promise...)
@shytalk - an interesting can of worms. HBC is currently running a project to identify parcels of their land which can be sold off. @Malthus - you are not correct in this case - the equipment was well past it's sell by date was dangerous and not economically repairable. @ POWWOW - see above. @2 for 5p rides again - not handed to the residents on a plate. Paid for out of their council tax. The slide and climbing frame were declared unfit and to be removed back in September - no mention of the swings. Now that ALL the equipment has been removed the children have effectively lost their play area. Despite Cllr Wells comments (treat quotes in the LT with caution though) my understanding is that there is no plan other than it may be up to residents to band together to obtain outside funding which is unavailable to the council. Err, that would be the residents who are currently up in arms at the loss of the facility. It's unfortunate that local Councillors haven't preempted the current anger of residents by making moves to engage with them prior to the removal of equipment and perhaps had outside funding lined up for new kit. As it is children have lost their playground with no replacement in sight. The omens don't look good for any early resolution. The portfolio holder for parks and open spaces is not seeking re-election in May and lives in Salford. A new portfolio holder after the election is likely to be from Accrington and have more enthusiasm for Woodnook than Great Harwood. Another Councillor commented that some new houses on the site would be a good addition to the townscape. There again there is an election coming up so someone may be able to pull a rabbit out of the hat before May (as opposed to a promise...) Pan-cake
  • Score: 3

1:19pm Fri 24 Jan 14

woolybully says...

What do you expect from Hyndburn, if you are on the outskirts, Gt Harwood, Belthorn etc, expect nowt because that's what you get.
What do you expect from Hyndburn, if you are on the outskirts, Gt Harwood, Belthorn etc, expect nowt because that's what you get. woolybully
  • Score: 4

3:08pm Fri 24 Jan 14

Mothernature says...

Gt. Harwood is lumped in with Blackburn with Darwen (I presume they pay their Council Tax to them), so why is it up to Hyndburn Council to repair the playground?
Gt. Harwood is lumped in with Blackburn with Darwen (I presume they pay their Council Tax to them), so why is it up to Hyndburn Council to repair the playground? Mothernature
  • Score: -4

3:15pm Fri 24 Jan 14

Pan-cake says...

Mothernature wrote:
Gt. Harwood is lumped in with Blackburn with Darwen (I presume they pay their Council Tax to them), so why is it up to Hyndburn Council to repair the playground?
Wrong! Great Harwood is part of Hyndburn.
[quote][p][bold]Mothernature[/bold] wrote: Gt. Harwood is lumped in with Blackburn with Darwen (I presume they pay their Council Tax to them), so why is it up to Hyndburn Council to repair the playground?[/p][/quote]Wrong! Great Harwood is part of Hyndburn. Pan-cake
  • Score: 1

6:06pm Fri 24 Jan 14

pwitch says...

Perhaps Gaenor can see how to become part of the Community Action Group and get her neighbours to join too so they can 'make waves'.
Perhaps Gaenor can see how to become part of the Community Action Group and get her neighbours to join too so they can 'make waves'. pwitch
  • Score: 0

8:32pm Fri 24 Jan 14

Mothernature says...

Pan-cake wrote:
Mothernature wrote: Gt. Harwood is lumped in with Blackburn with Darwen (I presume they pay their Council Tax to them), so why is it up to Hyndburn Council to repair the playground?
Wrong! Great Harwood is part of Hyndburn.
I think you'll find I'm not wrong. Great Harwood along with Rishton are both classed as Blackburn. Upon checking though, residents of both areas pay their council tax to the Hyndburn borough council.
[quote][p][bold]Pan-cake[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Mothernature[/bold] wrote: Gt. Harwood is lumped in with Blackburn with Darwen (I presume they pay their Council Tax to them), so why is it up to Hyndburn Council to repair the playground?[/p][/quote]Wrong! Great Harwood is part of Hyndburn.[/p][/quote]I think you'll find I'm not wrong. Great Harwood along with Rishton are both classed as Blackburn. Upon checking though, residents of both areas pay their council tax to the Hyndburn borough council. Mothernature
  • Score: -3

8:39pm Fri 24 Jan 14

Pan-cake says...

What a weird conversation. Its bad enough being part of Hyndburn: If Great Harwood was part of Blackburn I would have shot myself some while ago.
What a weird conversation. Its bad enough being part of Hyndburn: If Great Harwood was part of Blackburn I would have shot myself some while ago. Pan-cake
  • Score: 4

12:00pm Sun 26 Jan 14

arrod baw says...

Mothernature wrote:
Pan-cake wrote:
Mothernature wrote: Gt. Harwood is lumped in with Blackburn with Darwen (I presume they pay their Council Tax to them), so why is it up to Hyndburn Council to repair the playground?
Wrong! Great Harwood is part of Hyndburn.
I think you'll find I'm not wrong. Great Harwood along with Rishton are both classed as Blackburn. Upon checking though, residents of both areas pay their council tax to the Hyndburn borough council.
Can I have a pint of what Mothernature is on please...Arrod and Rishton are nowt to do with Blackburn in any matter...fact.
If you want summat complicated to ponder...Darwen is with Blackburn in local council matters...but votes for a different MP in the Rossendale and Darwen constituency.
[quote][p][bold]Mothernature[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Pan-cake[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Mothernature[/bold] wrote: Gt. Harwood is lumped in with Blackburn with Darwen (I presume they pay their Council Tax to them), so why is it up to Hyndburn Council to repair the playground?[/p][/quote]Wrong! Great Harwood is part of Hyndburn.[/p][/quote]I think you'll find I'm not wrong. Great Harwood along with Rishton are both classed as Blackburn. Upon checking though, residents of both areas pay their council tax to the Hyndburn borough council.[/p][/quote]Can I have a pint of what Mothernature is on please...Arrod and Rishton are nowt to do with Blackburn in any matter...fact. If you want summat complicated to ponder...Darwen is with Blackburn in local council matters...but votes for a different MP in the Rossendale and Darwen constituency. arrod baw
  • Score: 1

10:28pm Mon 27 Jan 14

Cllr Ken Moss says...

Pan-cake wrote:
@shytalk - an interesting can of worms. HBC is currently running a project to identify parcels of their land which can be sold off.
@Malthus - you are not correct in this case - the equipment was well past it's sell by date was dangerous and not economically repairable.
@ POWWOW - see above.
@2 for 5p rides again - not handed to the residents on a plate. Paid for out of their council tax.

The slide and climbing frame were declared unfit and to be removed back in September - no mention of the swings.

Now that ALL the equipment has been removed the children have effectively lost their play area. Despite Cllr Wells comments (treat quotes in the LT with caution though) my understanding is that there is no plan other than it may be up to residents to band together to obtain outside funding which is unavailable to the council. Err, that would be the residents who are currently up in arms at the loss of the facility.
It's unfortunate that local Councillors haven't preempted the current anger of residents by making moves to engage with them prior to the removal of equipment and perhaps had outside funding lined up for new kit.

As it is children have lost their playground with no replacement in sight.

The omens don't look good for any early resolution.

The portfolio holder for parks and open spaces is not seeking re-election in May and lives in Salford. A new portfolio holder after the election is likely to be from Accrington and have more enthusiasm for Woodnook than Great Harwood. Another Councillor commented that some new houses on the site would be a good addition to the townscape.

There again there is an election coming up so someone may be able to pull a rabbit out of the hat before May (as opposed to a promise...)
Another Councillor said that some new houses on the site would benefit the area.....who and when? I would be very interested to know.

I am the Councillor who is heading the land review and no parks in the whole borough are earmarked to be sold off.

This sort of scaremongering helps no one.
[quote][p][bold]Pan-cake[/bold] wrote: @shytalk - an interesting can of worms. HBC is currently running a project to identify parcels of their land which can be sold off. @Malthus - you are not correct in this case - the equipment was well past it's sell by date was dangerous and not economically repairable. @ POWWOW - see above. @2 for 5p rides again - not handed to the residents on a plate. Paid for out of their council tax. The slide and climbing frame were declared unfit and to be removed back in September - no mention of the swings. Now that ALL the equipment has been removed the children have effectively lost their play area. Despite Cllr Wells comments (treat quotes in the LT with caution though) my understanding is that there is no plan other than it may be up to residents to band together to obtain outside funding which is unavailable to the council. Err, that would be the residents who are currently up in arms at the loss of the facility. It's unfortunate that local Councillors haven't preempted the current anger of residents by making moves to engage with them prior to the removal of equipment and perhaps had outside funding lined up for new kit. As it is children have lost their playground with no replacement in sight. The omens don't look good for any early resolution. The portfolio holder for parks and open spaces is not seeking re-election in May and lives in Salford. A new portfolio holder after the election is likely to be from Accrington and have more enthusiasm for Woodnook than Great Harwood. Another Councillor commented that some new houses on the site would be a good addition to the townscape. There again there is an election coming up so someone may be able to pull a rabbit out of the hat before May (as opposed to a promise...)[/p][/quote]Another Councillor said that some new houses on the site would benefit the area.....who and when? I would be very interested to know. I am the Councillor who is heading the land review and no parks in the whole borough are earmarked to be sold off. This sort of scaremongering helps no one. Cllr Ken Moss
  • Score: 0

11:07pm Mon 27 Jan 14

Pan-cake says...

Cllr Ken Moss wrote:
"I am the Councillor who is heading the land review and no parks in the whole borough are earmarked to be sold off. "

Thank you Ken. I am happy to accept your reassurances that the land will be retained as a park.

There was concern from the residents that if the land use was changed then it would be well nigh impossible to find another piece of land in the area and gain planning permission to turn it into a playground.
Cllr Ken Moss wrote: "I am the Councillor who is heading the land review and no parks in the whole borough are earmarked to be sold off. " Thank you Ken. I am happy to accept your reassurances that the land will be retained as a park. There was concern from the residents that if the land use was changed then it would be well nigh impossible to find another piece of land in the area and gain planning permission to turn it into a playground. Pan-cake
  • Score: 0

11:55pm Mon 27 Jan 14

Cllr Ken Moss says...

Unfortunately, new park equipment is staggering expensive and, as has been pointed out, vandalism and an increasingly litigious nature from certain members of the public spoil it for the majority or we would almost certainly invest much more in play parks.

Certain park areas which have already been decommissioned long ago have been proposed for disposal but none are currently put forward for sale in Great Harwood that are active as recreation areas. The lack of play equipment is regrettable but children need somewhere to play and flogging off every last inch for building is not good for any community.

Please feel free to get in touch with me or any of my colleagues if you want further details on anything in Great Harwood.
Unfortunately, new park equipment is staggering expensive and, as has been pointed out, vandalism and an increasingly litigious nature from certain members of the public spoil it for the majority or we would almost certainly invest much more in play parks. Certain park areas which have already been decommissioned long ago have been proposed for disposal but none are currently put forward for sale in Great Harwood that are active as recreation areas. The lack of play equipment is regrettable but children need somewhere to play and flogging off every last inch for building is not good for any community. Please feel free to get in touch with me or any of my colleagues if you want further details on anything in Great Harwood. Cllr Ken Moss
  • Score: 0

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