Play­ground for dis­abled chil­dren axed by ‘couldn’t care less’ coun­cil

The Scottish Mail on Sunday - - News -

IN ITS prime, Old Fallings Ad­ven­ture play­ground was one of the few play ar­eas in Wolver­hamp­ton for chil­dren with se­vere dis­abil­i­ties thanks to its spe­cial equip­ment and staff who could help the young­sters.

But af­ter years of bud­get cuts and van­dal­ism on the site, the lo­cal author­ity has pad­locked the gates, dis­man­tled the equip­ment and barred the pub­lic from en­ter­ing the area. Now it faces be­ing re­placed by 20 new houses.

For Claire Dainty, whose tenyear-old son Sa­muel has spent much of his child­hood at Old Fallings, the clo­sure smacks of a ‘couldn’t care less at­ti­tude’ by Wolver­hamp­ton Coun­cil.

Ms Dainty, 40, who is also trea­surer for the char­ity Give Us A Break that took dis­abled chil­dren to the play­ground, said the only se­cu­rity mea­sure the coun­cil had in­stalled was an alarm. ‘We are fu­ri­ous that the coun­cil did noth­ing to pro­tect the site af­ter the first van­dal at­tack,’ she said. ‘There is no other real fa­cil­ity like this and now we have to travel miles for the chil­dren.’

And while the coun­cil would not spend an es­ti­mated £60,000 to over­haul the site, bosses were happy to spend £5 mil­lion on a new mar­ket, orig­i­nally meant to cost half the sum but which over­ran by £2.5 mil­lion.

A coun­cil spokesman said: ‘Old Fallings was a com­mu­nity fa­cil­ity on a se­cure site which had to be booked in ad­vance in or­der to be used. It was also staffed and man­aged – it was not a tra­di­tional park with a play­ground in it.’

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