08/12/2011 09:17 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Health And Safety Spoilsports Strip Kids' Playground Of All Equipment

Health and safety spoilsports strip kids' playground of all equipment
North News

A kiddies' playground has been stripped of all its equipment because health and safety officials say it's too dangerous – even though it has been in use for more than 10 years.

Swings, a roundabout, see-saw and slide have all been removed because they fall foul of complicated European regulations.

Now children in Allergate, Co. Durham, have nothing to do except run around on the grass.

Parents are up in arms about the move because there has never been a serious accident at the playground in all the time it has been open.

Yet the local authority says the equipment doesn't comply with the new standards and the cost of upgrading would be prohibitive, so they have decided to remove the fun stuff instead.

"People are always talking about kids getting more exercise and then the council takes the play equipment away," mum Sarah Loach told the Daily Mail.

Another, Ruth Pierce said: "My son keeps asking when the slide is coming back. We used to come down here quite regularly. Now I have to drive my boys to another park."

Ruth Chambers added: "The playground's been used for ten to 15 years plus. It seems crazy that they have suddenly decided it is not suitable."

The operation to remove all the equipment began two weeks ago after an annual safety audit by Durham County Council ruled it constituted a safety risk.

It was deemed to have contravened the European Union safety standard EN 1176 which governs playground equipment.

Nigel Dodds, the council's sport and leisure manager, said the equipment was removed because it was unsuitable for upgrading.

The council has not ruled out installing new equipment at Allergate, but Mr Dodds said that would depend on the outcome of a countywide play strategy, which is still being drawn up.

What do you think of this story?
Has your community suffered because of health and safety?