£4 Million Park is an accident blackspot

A NEW £4 million park criticised for a lack of play equipment has seen FIVE serious child accidents in its first three weeks.

Falls from a roundabout in Beacon Park, Lichfield, Staffs, left one schoolgirl suffering a broken leg and another youngster with a broken arm, while three others have also suffered facial injuries.

Alarmed council chiefs have now closed off the `witches hat’ ride and may eventually remove it.

The embarrassing move comes after parents vented their anger at the lack of play equipment in the under-five’s section of the park.

Rebecca Winter, aged 12, broke her left leg after flying off the whirlwind roundabout which is in the area for older kids. The school pupil now faces four months in plaster.

Angry dad Neil said: “There’s always the possibility that children could hurt themselves playing, and we accept that.

“But you don’t expect a kid to go to the park and come back with a broken leg.

“She had to have a general anaesthetic to have her bones reset due to how displaced they were.”

Lichfield District Council has had seven reported accidents in the main play area since the park partly re-opened in December.

But five occurred during the Easter holidays when the park was officially opened in full.

Nina Dawes, council chief executive, said: “We had four reported accidents on the whirlwind roundabout over the Easter holidays, so we invited a safety expert, certified by RoSPA/the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, to re-inspect it.

“Because of our growing concerns, we also monitored the roundabout during peak times.

“However, before the inspection there was another accident in the early evening and so we took the piece of equipment out of action immediately, as a precaution.

“We know how distressing accidents like these are and have spoken to the parents and hope the children recover soon.

“The inspector confirmed the whirlwind roundabout was installed properly and the safety surfacing around it was appropriate.

“While the whirlwind rounda bout features in playgrounds nationwide, we are keeping it closed until we decide on the best course of action.

“This is because we absolutely share parents’ concerns about the accidents on the roundabout.”

Worried parents hit out at the under-fives section of the park , which featured just a few old rides and a bizarre display of jagged rocks.

Mum Emma Jones, 35 and from Burntwood, said: “We’ve waited almost two years for the park to re-open and for GBP4 million expected something more than a tiny swing and the train and chickens from the old park.

“And it beggars belief someone thought it was a good idea to have jagged rocks in an area for such young children.

“I’ve already heard about one child falling and banging their head.”

But Neil Turner, director for Leisure, Parks and Play, had said: “We were keen to create a play area that focused on natural materials, such as wood, stone and sand, to encourage children to use their imagination and take controlled risks.”

The council later confirmed it will be adding a climbing frame, slide and willow maze to the under-fives area.

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