Playground Closes After Noisy Children Complaint

A playground has been closed after ONE grumpy resident complained about the noise of children playing.

Families turned up to the Bakewell Recreation Ground in Derbyshire only to find it closed for three days a week after the local council received just the single complaint about noise.

Mum Kate Hunt, from Sheffield, who visited the park with her son George and niece Molly, both aged four, told the Sheffield Telegraph: "I can't believe one person can ruin so many children's fun.

"We've been visiting the park for years so were shocked to find the wet area closed - it was particularly upsetting for George and Molly.

"Upon investigating we were told the opening hours had been reduced due to one nearby resident complaining about the noise of children playing.

"It's beyond belief someone would complain about children having fun - I'm sure the traffic noise from the main road is far more disruptive.

"The council were apologetic and explained the area would still be open at certain times, but these aren't convenient for everyone."

The wet play area was open seven days a week before council bosses slashed its opening times to just four afternoons a week following the complaint.

The area is now open from noon to 5pm on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays. It will also be open every afternoon but only during the school summer holidays.

Grandmother Anne Barrett, 76, regularly visits Bakewell Recreation Ground with grandson Isaac.

She said: "I think it's ridiculous that the council has cut the opening hours because of one noise complaint. The council should reconsider their decision.

"I can't see how the restricted hours will make any difference to the resident that has complained either - it just means there will be lots of disappointed children this summer, which is sad."

One resident, Marian Lomas, 75, who lives in a house which backs onto the park, said: "The noise from the play area does get very loud sometimes but I would never complain about it as you would come to expect some noise where we are situated.

"The main noise is from the children playing. They scream and laugh together. But it doesn't bother either of us too much, and luckily we are both mobile and can get out of the house."

A spokesman for Derbyshire Dales District Council told the Derbyshire Times: "The council freely acknowledges it is in a no-win situation here. Some time ago, a local resident complained to us about what he claimed was an increase in noise from the play area since the replacement of an old paddling pool in 2010 by new splash pads.

"Our officers carried out tests which showed the noise generated from the play area has the potential to represent a statutory nuisance. It's not only the noise generated by screaming children, but also the pump that works the splash pads.

"The complainant's view is the play equipment should be re-sited or closed.

"However, as the cost of such a move would be significant and its closure unacceptable, we're trialling a restricted hours operation.

"We are attempting to strike a balance between two sets of views. All feedback will be reported to councillors for further consideration at a meeting early in July."