Full cost of safe play surfaces

L13-1246 Skate park in Parsons Close rec, Leighton Buzzard
L13-1246 Skate park in Parsons Close rec, Leighton Buzzard

The deteriorating condition of Leighton-Linslade’s play areas could cost up to £750,000 to fix, the LBO can reveal.

Following an annual independent safety assessment, Leighton-Linslade Town Council has been told that five of its 22 play areas (Adams Bottom, Astral Park and outdoor gym, Danes Field BMX track, Mill Road, and Parson’s Close skatepark) pose a ‘high’ risk to children.

Results of the inspection have just been made available but as the assessment took place in May the conclusions of the report did not take into the account injuries sustained by one-year-old Riley Doherty– who was badly burned after falling onto a metal ramp which had heated up under the sun at Parson’s Close Rec playground on July 10.

A report of the survey, which was carried out on behalf of the RoSPA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents), suggests that the ‘vast majority’ of impact softening surfacing in the town’s play areas are in a state of deterioration.

Though costings for this material varies broadly, the council expects that it will have to outlay between £500,000 and £700,000 over a ten-year period to fix the problem.

For the time being the council will meet the £11,730 cost to replace play area gates, many of which are “very fast at closing with limited deceleration”.

The gates – which are said to be “at the perfect height for making contact with children’s heads”– also have pins which project forward from latch bars.

A council spokesman told the LBO: “At the moment we are calculating how much surfacing we have got and what type it is. It will come down to the elected members.”