As Wisbech playground gets its first casualty, MP questions cost and who made �880,000 decision
AS an angry mum hit out after her 13 year old broke a collar bone in the unfinished �880,000 Waterlees playground, MP Stephen Barclay questioned why so much money had been spent on it
“What else is going to happen?” said Caroline Deane. “Someone could fall and break their neck.”
Miss Deane, who is taking legal advice after her son Callum had his summer holiday ruined by the injury, added: “If they have opened part of the park up then there should be someone there watching over them. “Something worse will happen and the council should have their arses sued.”
The injury means her football mad son, who plays for Wisbech Acorns, missed a football tournament and he will also miss part of his first day back at Marshland High School for an appointment at the fracture clinic
Mr Barclay said: “I am very concerned if �880,000 has been spent on just one play facility and on a design that includes a fire pit for use by children.
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“It is important that residents get quick answers to clarify which person has made the decision to sign off this design, why it is costing so much, and what can be done to sort out problems already identified.
“We need a breakdown of all the costs associated with this project. I also want to know why a fire pit has been included, particularly when Wisbech has faced so many arson attacks in recent months.”
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Some of those questions are being asked, too, by county councillor Martin Curtis, cabinet for young people, who has also called for a report on the injury to Miss Deane’s son.
“It is an awful thing to happen for both the parent and child and we do everything we can to help prevent these things but sometimes it just does happen,” he said.
He said he didn’t know specifically about the spinning disc which Callum was using when he fell but “everything we have got in there is RoSPA approved so from that perspective everything is safe.
“We have not been complacent about safety and I don’t want to make light of what happened and the parent can be assured we will make sure that piece of equipment is safe.
“It is an awful thing to happen for both the parent and child and we do everything we can to help prevent these things but sometimes it just does happen.”
Cllr Curtis said steps had been taken over the past week to address the concerns of residents. The mesh encasing rocks surrounding the play area had been modified so stones cannot be removed and thrown at equipment.
He said: “The gates are being locked at night and there are security patrols. Police are aware of the issues and have said they will work with residents. The fencing around the site will be better when it is permanent and the work has finished.”
Miss Deane says her son was told by builders on August 9 that he and his friends could play on the equipment.
But the teenager ended up in hospital with a broken collar bone after being thrown off the spinning disc which has nothing for youngsters to hold onto. He is still taking pain relief.
After seeing last week’s front page story in the Wisbech Standard highlighting concerns over the adventure playground off Waterlees Road, Miss Deane said: “Wisbech does need something like this for kids to be able to have a bit of fun and keep them off the streets but it needs to be safe. I can tell you that my son will not be going there again.”
Miss Deane was unaware than Callum had gone to the playground until she got a phone call from him asking to be picked up because he had hurt himself.
She said: “I just took him straight to the North Cambs Hospital because he was looking a bit grey by that time. He said he had heard something snap as he fell.
“I couldn’t understand why the kids were being allowed in there when it is not finished. They were told it was okay and the fence is certainly not keeping anyone out.
“I saw last week’s Wisbech Standard and just thought it is a complete nightmare and something should be done about it.”
Mr Barclay added: “It is good news that a play facility is being provided for local children, but I am concerned that other parts of the constituency don’t miss out on their play facilities because such a large part of the budget is spent on one scheme.”