Children's play area is ripped out

PUBLISHED: 17:54 18 February 2009 | UPDATED: 13:57 06 May 2010

The empty play area in Runcie Close

The empty play area in Runcie Close

A POPULAR play area for people of all ages in St Albans has been ploughed up and the equipment removed. Now residents are getting up a petition to try to persuade St Albans District Council to restore the play area in Runcie Close to its former state. To

A POPULAR play area for people of all ages in St Albans has been ploughed up and the equipment removed.

Now residents are getting up a petition to try to persuade St Albans District Council to restore the play area in Runcie Close to its former state.

Tom Hewins, who lives in the close, said: "People round here between the ages of five and 50 use that space. Children on their way to Wheatfields and Sandringham play there. Others use it just to play their games or sit on the swing or just stop for a chat while the children play."

He added that there was a fenced-in play area in nearby Brecken Close which was not so popular and a well-equipped play area in Sandringham Crescent which children had to cross a busy main road to reach.

The Runcie Close play area has been in existence for more than 20 years and Mr Hewins said: "No-one asked us if we wanted to keep it there. They just sent the JCBs in to rip it up and leave it looking like a ploughed field."

A council spokesperson said they employed engineers to inspect play areas and assess their play value and state of the equipment.

She said: "In this case it was felt the equipment had reached the end of its useful life and there were two better-equipped play areas, Brecken Close and Sandringham Crescent, close by." But she said the council would be re-turfing the area and it might be possible to restore the equipment if there was sufficient strength of feeling about it.

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