I'm delighted to be able to report that, following the safety audit of the play facilities on the Ridgegrove Estate, the remaining equipment has been given the all clear and will remain in place.
I'm delighted for this, but wary that it is only a small success in an on-going battle.
Whilst the swings etc are safe for the timebeing, I'm still going to be pressing the Council to replace the equipment that has been removed recently and to guarantee to replace equipment when it goes beyond its safe life in the future.
The safety audit was carried out by an extremely efficient officer from the former Caradon Council. Whilst I had been warned that even the smallest deficiency could see the equipment ripped out (a flake of paint was mentioned), I was glad to see that his attitude was to point out how easy it was to repair anything that was wrong. Hence he told us how cheap and easy it is to replace the shackles which are close to the end of their life. The other officers present were therefore able to recommend that the maintenance work is done without losing the play equipment.
It's great to meet a 'can-do' officer and team.
Inevitably, one piece of good news has led to another problem. In the report of the safety audit, the Council points out that the nearest suitable ball playing area is 1224 metres (very precise!) away at Priory Park. They note this as being walking distance.
I would question whether more than ten minutes brisk walk is fair for an 8-10 year old to kick a football around, but there is something even more troubling in this.
That is that the 'safe walking route' shown on the map takes would-be footballers down Dutson Road to Newport Square. This stretch of road has no pavement and forces pedestrians to walk on the outside of parked cars - in the middle of a main road. I have therefore urgently written to the Cabinet Member for Housing, Mark Kaczmarek, who sent me the report to ask him to clarify whether this can really be classed as 'safe'.