Children ‘devastated’ after playground is pulled down

Residents, including Kerry Allen (bottom right), gathered at the site where the play equipment used to be. Picture: Kate Shemilt
Residents, including Kerry Allen (bottom right), gathered at the site where the play equipment used to be. Picture: Kate Shemilt

‘Devastated’ children are upset after their beloved playground slide and swings were suddenly removed.

Play equipment at Clapham Recreation Ground was pulled down on Tuesday for safety reasons.

“My girls are absolutely devastated,” said mother-of-two Kerry Allen, 36, who lives nearby in The Street.

“They’re really upset, one keeps asking for the park.”

Kerry, a former teacher, said the park was used every day by local children, who are now struggling to process that it is no longer there.

The Recreation Ground land was donated to the parishioners of Clapham by the Somerset family in 1930 and is held in a trust.

For decades it was leased to Arun District Council, who maintained the park and ensured it was safe.

But when the council withdrew from its lease that responsibility was due to pass to the trustees of the land.

A council spokesperson said: “We were asked by the landowner to remove the play equipment as they did not want to be responsible for the maintenance and liability.”

But it appears not everyone was aware the play equipment would be taken away.

Kerry said: “We’re furious. There was absolutely no notice about this happening.

“There are three babies going to be born in the village soon who aren’t going to have a park.

“My little one is going to be writing a letter about it.”

Jane Preston, speaking on behalf of the trustees of the Recreation Ground, said: “The equipment was old and needed to be removed for safety reasons as it was no longer covered by Arun District Council.”

She added that although village groups had offered to fund insurance, this would only cover so much and future payments would require funds from elsewhere.

A Clapham Parish Council spokesperson said: “We regret the current situation and will continue to seek a resolution.”

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