Councillor swings into action at play park

Coun Ray Whittingham at Ashfield Park play area
Coun Ray Whittingham at Ashfield Park play area

Work to improve a children’s play area and make it safer is almost complete.

Coun Ray Whittingham has thanked Wigan Council for their help in addressing his concerns about the standard of the play equipment at Ashfield Park in Standish after he raised health and safety concerns.

The council has carried out work to improve the equipment and have replaced the sand base in the toddler’s play area with rubber matting to help reduce injuries.

Coun Whittingham said: “Not long after being elected in May I submitted a complaint to Wigan Council regarding the condition and lack of children’s play area equipment on Ashfield Park, specifically in the toddler’s play area.

“I also raised health and safety issues.

“On the toddler’s play area, I noticed that there were no handrails at the top of the children’s slide with a drop of 1.6 metres, the access to the slide was simply dangerous.

“The access steps were formed with the use of half round timbers which for 8 to 10-year-olds would not cause much of a problem, but for a two or three-year-olds they are trip hazards.

“Quite a few children have fallen because the half logs are not correctly shaped for the youngsters to balance their movements.

“All credit to Wigan Council who have since stepped up to the plate and have now almost completed the rejuvenation of the children’s area with health and safety in mind.”

The Conservative councillor does still have concerns about other areas of the play area but has said he is keeping the pressure on to ensure more improvements are made.

He said: “In the older children’s play area, the climbing structure is very dangerous. When the children get to the level where they access the slide, they must walk around a crow’s nest type walkway to get to the slide.

“There are large openings on each side where children could quite easily fall through.

“I am keeping the pressure on the council to continue these improvements and to see a general improvement in the maintenance of the park and its play equipment.

“Hopefully the rejuvenation will continue into the larger area used by older children.

“I will be asking the police to patrol periodically around the area to ensure that we don’t see vandalism of this new equipment and to ensure that the park is maintained as the place we all love. I would just like to express my thanks to Wigan Council for a job well done.”

A council spokesperson said: “We have been working with Councillor Whittingham to improve the play equipment in Ashfield Park as we know this is a much enjoyed area for families.

“The older children’s play equipment meets industry safety standards but we would always recommend that adults supervise children using play equipment in our parks.

“Regular cleaning and emptying of litter bins is done in the area and people can also help to keep the play area tidy by using the bins provided. If anyone has any other concerns regarding the area they can also report it by downloading the MyReportIt app.”