A temporary repair has now been put in place for the fencing on the Tollgate play area which blew down last October. I raised the lack of repairs at Shropshire Council’s cabinet last Wednesday and was promised temporary repairs. I pressed for these to begin the next day.

The temporary repairs began that afternoon and were completed Friday. Permanent repairs, however, will cost £25K according to the response I received, an outrageous amount for around 40 metres of fencing.

“Quotes have been sought for permanent repairs to the play area but costs circa £25k are prohibitive in the current financial climate. It is recognised that the condition of the existing fencing is unacceptable and damaged sections will be removed, made safe and temporary repairs instigated so that children can play safely. This will be undertaken shortly.”

The repairs will not cost anything like £25K according to Shropshire Council officers and the materials are currently being procured.  

Before the repairs

Council staff have said they are considering removing the copper beech hedge which has enveloped a stretch of the fence. I don’t see the need for this as the hedge is an effective barrier in its own right and attracts nesting birds. It gets overgrown with brambles in late summer but that can be controlled with pruning.

The copper beech hedge

The council has also published the safety reports for the play area. These show that it was warned about the state of the fencing last October.

It is unacceptable that a safety hazard on a play area was not dealt with for three months.

My question to cabinet

Shropshire Council is responsible for many play areas across Shropshire, including in Ludlow. The Tollgate Lane play area in Ludlow has been in a state of disrepair since late October. The already rotten fencing blew down in an early winter storm. The safety barriers blew down in the next storm shortly afterwards. No action has been taken by Shropshire Council to secure children’s safety at the site since. This has caused a lot of concern in the community in which I live. They see Shropshire Council’s officers on the site most weeks but no action taken.

My questions to the cabinet are:

1) How often does Shropshire Council inspect the safety of the play areas it is responsible for?

2) Does Shropshire Council engage ROSPA or another safety body to conduct annual reviews of its play areas?

3) Could the council supply the latest safety assessment for the Tollgate Lane play area?

4) When is the Tollgate Lane area going to be repaired and made safe for the children in our community that play there?

2 thought on “Shropshire Council was warned about the state of the Tollgate play area three months ago”
  1. Shropshire Council are pleading poverty although presumably they are responsible for all play areas? We should be careful that they do not reduce or close any of the play areas so much needed by the younger residents of the Town and surroundings. Perhaps the use of CIL monies for such repair/improvement could be an answer or would this create a dangerous precedent for Shropshire to avoid it’s responsibilities.

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