Councillor fears safety of new Sidmouth play area

The soakaway area beyond the new play area near Howarth Close at Stowford. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref

The soakaway area beyond the new play area near Howarth Close at Stowford. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref shs 4019-17-13SH To order your copy of this photograph go to and click on MyPhotos24. - Credit: Archant

A community representative is worried about children’s safety in Stowford’s ‘dangerous’ new play park – which stands at the top of a 15-foot drop into a drainage ditch.

Town councillor Dawn Manley, who represents the area and lives nearby, has been campaigning to have a play area at the new housing estate for more than three years.

But she did not expect it to be installed next to a soak-away, and passed her concerns on to the district council’s safety officer.

“We have been chasing them and chasing them and this is what they come up with,” said Councillor Manley.

“It’s the most terrible afterthought plonked in the wrong place.”

A Howarth Close resident brought it to her attention, saying youngsters are at risk if they play unsupervised next to the soak-away.

“I know children love water – I think the play area is really dangerous,” said the mum-of-two. “As soon as it rains the soakaway just fills up.”

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The woman, who lives in a Housing Association home and does not want to be named, worries that the fencing that has been erected will not contain children – especially as they have already been getting through a much higher temporary barrier to get in.

Simon Perks, the managing director for Persimmon Homes South West, said: “The type of play equipment and its position was as a result of public consultation prior to the equipment being fitted.

“The scheme has been approved by local council planners, reflects local wishes and offers fun play activities for children across a wide range of ages.”

The community safety officer for East Devon said the play area will be considered by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents before it can open.

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