Bucks Council to inspect 'unsafe' and 'forgotten' playground in Aylesbury

Bucks Council is set to inspect a playground which local parents have advised their children to avoid.

By James Lowson
Monday, 27th June 2022, 5:03 pm

Next week council officials will check out the quality of the equipment at Somerville Way Park.

Residents have labelled the park as ‘unsafe’ and believe Sommerville Way has become the ‘forgotten’ estate in Aylesbury.

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A worn down swing at Somerville Way

Observers are worried someone might get ‘seriously hurt’ if nothing is done to replace worn down and broken apparatus in the field.

In certain parts of the park the wooden bases of the equipment has eroded to the point it no longer appears to be attached to the metal framing.

This could cause a potential major health and safety risk if a youngster was to put their full weight on the apparatus, residents fear.

wood starting to detach on the equipment

Resident Ian Beard, has called the park a ‘health risk to the kids’, he believes no work has been done to upgrade the facilities since he moved to the area in 2008.

The council has a different version of events linking the issues to incidents of criminal damage that have been reported to the police in the past.

Bucks Council states it has been working with the police to prevent further instances of criminal damage.

While the council has removed unsafe objects and items from the play area in the past, Ian believes the whole park is unplayable and requires a full review.

Residents believe the park hasn't been refurbished in 15 years

Ian told The Bucks Herald: “Since we’ve lived here that park has not been refurbished in any way.

"They are not caring about the communities.”

On community Facebook groups for the estate residents point to other nearby parks that have received upgrades or refurbishment including a play area in Stoke Mandeville, that was re-fitted.

The father of two says his frustration with a lack of action taken to properly inspect the park increased last year, when his request on Fix My Street for an inspection went unnoticed.

While the equipment isn’t overly popular residents advise that youngsters still often go and congregate at the park, as it represents a green area they can play and a hub which can act as a meeting point.

Ian added: “It’s an area to meet, but it’s an area where things are run down, unuseable, things aren’t there that should be there have been taken away. What can you do?”

"The only thing you can do is walk 10-15 minutes to Fairford Leys to another park.

"The other playing fields, you’ve got to cross over the main road to get there and I’m not letting my daughters go all that way over there on their own.

"Fairford Leys has got a basketball and a football court. Ed’s Playing Fields has got a basketball and a football court, Haydon Hill as well.

"We are the forgotten estate.”

Councillor Clive Harriss told The Bucks Herald: “Unfortunately, there has been a spate of anti-social behaviour and criminal damage at this park including damaged equipment which the council has replaced many times.

"In some instances, unfortunately the damage has meant we’ve had to take some items away to make sure the site remains safe. Our Community Safety team are working in partnership with Thames Valley Police to try and identify the perpetrators, so we can prevent this from happening in the future.

“We want this space to be respected and enjoyed by all and with the police are working to seek solutions to the issues, so we can keep the playground open and safe for everyone.

“We will visit the site next week to assess it further and assess the equipment that needs repairing, and will replace as necessary.”