Harpenden dad calls for play area upgrade after son’s near miss on ‘antiquated’ climbing frame

PUBLISHED: 15:23 07 August 2020 | UPDATED: 15:23 07 August 2020

Three-year-old Monty had a near miss on the climbing frame at Rothemsted Park's play area in Harpenden. Picture: Hugh Roberts

Three-year-old Monty had a near miss on the climbing frame at Rothemsted Park's play area in Harpenden. Picture: Hugh Roberts

Archant

A concerned father is calling for play equipment at Harpenden’s Rothamsted Park to be replaced or “properly maintained”, after his three-year-old son had a near miss with a loose bolt.

Hugh Roberts and his son Monty visited the play area on Friday morning when the three-year-old slipped and fell off the rope ladder, which is missing the top step.

Luckily, Hugh was close by to catch Monty, but on closer inspection he noticed a loose bolt at the top of the equipment – which he says his son would have hit his head on had he not been there.

The concerned dad told the Herts Ad: “He slipped and his head just missed a loose bolt. The equipment there really is a disgrace.

“All the equipment is old. It’s pretty shocking – the equipment is already quite outdated by about 20 years, but then for it not to be properly maintained is another thing entirely.

“They need to be replaced. I managed to catch him but if he had hit his head on the bolt I would be taking him to A&E.”

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This comes following the news that Harpenden Town Council has temporarily withdrawn from taking over ownership of the park from St Albans District Council.

Last week, the town council announced that due to the district council’s ‘financial demands’, it would not be taking on the park as originally planned.

Initially, SADC said it would transfer the ownership at no cost. Based on this, HTC committed in principle to funding of over £750,000 to deliver a new vision for the park, including investment in a new children’s play area, redeveloped pavilion for community use and more.

Hugh continued: “It’s all well and good that the ownership is up for debate and discussions are happening, but when it gets to the state when there are loose bolts it needs to be addressed.

“I just hope the councils can sort out whatever dispute they’ve got in the best interest of the community and not squabble about it so they can finally do something about this play equipment.”

A spokesperson for the SADC said: “Thank you for drawing this to our attention. The play area is inspected each week by our contractor.

“We have asked for the play equipment to be checked again following your report. We are working with a group called PARC whose members are seeking funding for a new £250,000 play area at Rothamsted Park.

“We will continue working with PARC and Harpenden Town Council to progress this.”


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