Sidmouth parents left ‘disgusted’ by removal of climbing frame in children’s play area

Back row: Lilly Lee, 9, and Alfie Harvey,8. Front row: Eithan Lee,6, Poppy Harvey, 5, and Brody Bray

Back row: Lilly Lee, 9, and Alfie Harvey,8. Front row: Eithan Lee,6, Poppy Harvey, 5, and Brody Bray, 4 all in the nearly empty playpark. - Credit: Archant

Parents and grandparents have slammed a decision to remove a climbing frame from a Sidmouth play park - leaving young children with barely anything to play on.

Generations who have used the the Manstone Lane site are now urging owner East Devon District Council (EDDC) to take action and find a way to breathe life back into the facility.

A spokesman for the authority said it could no longer guarantee the safety of the climbing frame and cash is too short to replace it in this financial year.

Councillor Stuart Hughes said he had put the case forward to make it fit for the 21st century.

Grandmother-of-two Candy Palmer, 53, told the Herald she had lived in the Manstone area most of her life. She said: “It is disgusting. When I was a kid, children used to come from down town because we used to have such great equipment.

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“There has always been a climbing frame and a slide. and now we have been left with two sets of swings. They have done up the area for the older children which is great but now there is nothing for the younger ones.”

Mum-of-two Emma Lee, 38, also of Manstone said: “We would just love something to be put there again. We didn’t even now it was going – since it has been gone it has been more of a hang out for older children.We used to play on it all the time.”

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Mum-of-three Claire Luke, 44, another Manstone resident, said: “We assumed it would be going back up and being fix but nothing has happened.

“It was always so busy before and after school. We were playing on the climbing frame right up until it was taken done. It was a little worn down but looked fine to us.”

Grandmother-of-two Elizabeth Cox said: “I’m totally disappointed. There are lots and lots of young children and nothing for them to play on.”

Laura Southcott, a mum of two, added: “I can’t believe they have taken it down with nothing to put up. It was not in great condition but it is better than nothing.

“They have just redone the play park in Sidbury- we don’t mind recycled play equipment.”

Cllr Stuart Hughes said the issue was going to be discussed at a council meeting on Wednesday and that he would be happy to contribute some of his county council locality budget towards the upgrade.

He added: “I have put the case forward for works to bring this much used play area into the 21st century.

“I therefore hope that the committee will look favourable on this upgrade and agree the funding so work can be carried out in the next financial year.”

Cllr Hughes said if the funding was agreed, it would pave the way for the management of the play park to be transferred to Sidmouth Town Council, which is responsible for all the other facilities in the area like the youth centre, multi-use games area and Manstone Recreation Ground.

An EDDC spokeswoman said the climbing frame was removed because its condition had deteriorated to a point where despite numerous repairs, they could no longer guarantee the safety of the children using it.

She added: “We deeply regret that it has been necessary to remove this item of play equipment without replacing it immediately, but there is currently insufficient funding available to replace the climbing frame in this financial year.

“However, as part of the East Devon budget setting process for the next financial year, a bid for funding to renew the whole play area and bring it up to modern standards has been submitted. Sidmouth Town Council and the Keith Owen Fund have also agreed to contribute towards the renewal of the play area.”

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