Keeping outdoor play areas safe all year round
29 September 2016The long days of summer may soon be over, but Cheshire West and Chester’s many outdoor play areas will receive the same care and attention during the coming winter months to keep them safe and in working order.
The Council’s Play Inspectors are out and about all year, in all weathers, visiting the borough’s 112 play areas and checking 832 pieces of play equipment, gates and fencing.
Across the borough there are 166 swings, 113 climbing frames, 54 roundabouts and 47 slides and nine zip lines, plus many other pieces of play equipment that need to be in tip-top condition.
Play areas are inspected either monthly or weekly. Weekly inspections are carried out in the most popular play areas that are more likely to experience wear and tear.
The inspections cover everything from the links in swing chains to the floor surface around all pieces of play equipment, as well as the safety of perimeter fences and the speed the park gate closes, to ensure children cannot get trapped.
The inspectors address any hazards or defects by removing, taping off or making the equipment safe. They record anything found in log books and note anything that needs keeping an eye on for future visits.
Once a year, in September, all Cheshire West play parks are also checked by an external inspector accredited by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) to confirm all is well. So, if you see a person with a clipboard in your local play area this month, don’t be alarmed.
The Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Wellbeing, Councillor Louise Gittins said: “Having good facilities for play is vital for children and young people because it contributes to their cognitive, physical, social, and emotional well-being. We have a very thorough rota of checks for all our play areas to keep them safe for everyone to enjoy. However, if you spot a problem please do let us know.” www.westcheshireyourstreets.co.uk.
The website aims to make reporting problems easier and provide useful information about the range of services the Council provides in communities across the borough.
One of the Council’s Play Inspectors, Arthur Williams, checks a swing in Stanney Fields Park, Neston