Chesterton parents call for Thistle Patch playpark to be fenced

Concerned Chesterton parents are campaigning for a fence to be built around a popular play area

Concerned Chesterton parents are campaigning for a fence to be built around a popular play area

First published in News Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Photograph of the Author by , Chief reporter

CONCERNED parents have called for road safety measures by a popular play area after a number of near misses involving local children.

The Thistle Patch Park in Chesterton has been recently transformed with new benches and an improved play area.

It has always been popular, but the improvements mean it has become even more popular with local families, in particular those with young children.

Parents are now calling for improved fencing around the area as they say neighbouring Cranhams Lane is a busy road and bus route.

“I have two kids and do my best to watch them constantly, but they move fast, one being a two-year-old,” said Chesterton mum Alvina Sampson. “Something needs to be done before an accident happens.”

Several parents said they have approached Cirencester Town Council with no success.

“It’s a beautiful play area for the kids but it lacks safety and security,” Mrs Sampson continued. “There have been a few close calls lately with kids running near the road. Sadly the council don’t feel it is necessary to fence it in.”

Chief executive of Cirencester Town Council Andrew Tubb said a safety survey by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents on the park found there was no issue.

“ROSPA advised that there was no need for a fence as the play area was a sufficient distance away from the road,” he said.

Safety measures to tackle traffic speed on Cranhams Lane have been introduced including speed bumps, chicanes and a refuge, but parents do not believe it is enough.

Children as young as 14 months attend a Play Rangers session at the park every Monday afternoon and in summer months the park is bustling with activity.

“Not all mums stay at the Play Ranger sessions so you have other kids to watch as well as your own,” said mum Julie Harvey. “You need eyes in the back of your head.”

Mr Tubb said the town council has since been in touch with the Highways Agency to make the park even safer with a view to improving warning signs for motorists and cutting back roadside vegetation on the approaches to the park.

Davina Caine, vice chairman of the Chesterton Community Project, said: “We have a lot of sympathy with the mums over this but the report from ROSPA said there was no need and it is town council land.

“I’m a mum myself and I would really like to see a fence around this as there is also nothing to keep dogs out.”

The Chesterton Community Project had been raising money for a safety fence until the ROSPA report was published. Davina said the CCP would be supportive of continued fund-raising to pay for the improvements if the town council would agree to them.

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