Disabled parents criticise Wymondham play area decision - as 100 people turn out to protest
PUBLISHED: 07:11 11 February 2016 | UPDATED: 08:06 11 February 2016
Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2016
Disabled parents in Wymondham say that an “unbelievable” decision to relocate a £75,000 play area will leave them with nowhere safe to take their children.
It comes as almost 100 parents, children and campaigners gathered at the park on Tuesday for a protest against the decision.
Last week Wymondham Town Council agreed to move the playscape on King’s Head Meadow (KHM) to Browick Road to solve complaints over noise and antisocial behaviour from nearby homeowners - despite fierce objection from manyabout the £60,000 put aside to cover costs.
Parents with disabilities have criticised the decision and are hoping to pursue legal action, claiming the town will be left without a play area they can easily access.
After a car accident in 2002 damaged his spine, Neil Seach, of Rustens Manor Road, is unable to walk long distances and relies on his mobility scooter, making getting to the park with his three-year-old daughter a struggle.
He says he finds other play areas difficult to reach - with the newly-opened Kett’s Park set on grass, which often becomes waterlogged, away from a path and Browick Road too steep to access by scooter.
“I complained about Kett’s Park and was told KHM would be more suitable, which was fine. We were really pleased with it - I could take my daughter there, help her and be near rather than having to
watch on from 100 yards away,” he said. “But to know that even that will be removed now is unbelievable.
“Wymondham is a historic town so there are lots of places that are not accessible for me, but I’ve never wanted to complain because this is where I grew up and I love it, but I can’t let this go.”
The 37-year-old had previously asked the council to consider installing a path to Kett’s Park for disabled users - but says he was told the cost could be too high.
In response, the council this week confirmed it is looking into installing a path and said the two main play areas, Kett’s Park and KHM, were considered compliant with the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA).
It also said play areas including the one at Bramble Way, which is run by South Norfolk Council, have suitable access.
Among those at Tuesday’s protest was father-of-five David Roberts, who has multiple sclerosis and an 11-year-old child with sight and learning difficulties.
He said KHM is the only “safe and accessible” park for his family and that, at others, he would struggle to reach his children quickly should an accident happen.
At the full council meeting last week, those living behind KHM said the council should have built the park elsewhere on the meadow. At their closest, the fences of affected homes are thought to be two metres away.
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