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THE newly-opened play area in the George Ward Gardens estate has been branded as ‘unfinished’, ‘unsafe’ and a ‘disgrace’ by Melksham’s mayor and local residents.
Concerns have been raised about there being no safety fence around the area, which is next to a residential road, and there being no safety surfacing for any of the equipment.
This is the second time Persimmon Homes, the housing developer responsible for George Ward Gardens, has been criticised regarding the play area.
In the last issue of Melksham News, the developers came under fire from the town council for not opening the play area in accordance with their planning conditions, which states that they should have built and opened the play area before 70% of the residential units were occupied.
According to the town council, the housing estate had reached 70% occupancy over a year ago, making the delivery of the play area 12 months overdue.
Following the story and further questions from Melksham News about the delay, the play area was opened earlier this month. However, residents are not happy with the ‘poor’ standard of the play area, and mayor cllr Jon Hubbard is calling for Persimmon to compensate residents, who have to pay a maintenance fee to the developers.
George Ward Gardens resident Jessica Beida told Melksham News, “It looks unfinished! It has no fencing around it, so kids could run off and dogs can easily access the area, which is why we prefer to use the play area on Dunch Lane.
“Also, they haven’t used any wet pour for the equipment – so it could be dangerous for kids, plus when it rains, the whole area is going to be muddy and we won’t be able to use it.
“This is a family estate, there probably isn’t a house here that doesn’t have kids in it – we need this space, but it needs to be safe – we are paying maintenance fees for this facility, it needs to be better!”
Mayor Cllr Hubbard added, “I am truly shocked seeing the state of the play area here, it’s clearly unfinished, they’ve clearly removed the security fencing in a rush to say it is open now.
“It is unsafe as it does not have a surrounding fence – children could be using play equipment and could come off it onto dog mess because there is nothing stopping dogs getting into the area – it’s a health hazard.
“The developers should be ashamed of themselves for the state they have left this in. They are charging residents a maintenance fee and providing a sub-standard facility that’s been delivered over a year late.
“They should be refunding maintenance charges to residents as compensation for their incompetence.”
In response to the complaints, a spokesman from Persimmon Homes Wessex, said, “We can confirm that the landscaping has now taken sufficiently, allowing us to open the play area for public use.
“The play area has the necessary safety certificates in place, however we will be taking the feedback on board and erecting a permanent fence around the space shortly.”
Trying to establish exactly how overdue the opening of the play area was, Melksham News queried again when George Ward Gardens had reached 70% capacity, but did not receive a reply to the question.
Picture: Mayor cllr Jon Hubbard inspects the workmanship at the George Ward Gardens play area.