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Thursday, 30 October 2014

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Play area? It’s a jungle out there...

PARENTS fear that children’s safety is at risk as they are being forced to play on roads to avoid a dangerous overgrown play area at Cleator Moor.

Angry residents have signed a petition to Copeland Council calling for overgrown grass at the Buckle Avenue play area to be cut as it has become a dumping ground for rubbish and dog dirt.

The petition was launched by former resident and father-of-six Ryan Park, who says the council’s decision to reduce grass-cutting as part of government cutbacks has had a detrimental effect on the community.

He said: “It’s only a matter of time before someone is hit by a car or blinded by dog mess. The area that was once a haven for kids playing is now an overgrown tip and dog toilet.”

By yesterday (Wednesday) 193 people had signed the online petition.

Copeland Council says that reducing the frequency of public grass cuttings is just one of the measures forced upon it as a result of the cutbacks. But Mr Park said: “The council has made the cutbacks but they shouldn’t be making them at children’s play areas.”

He said more people are dropping litter, dog owners are letting their pets foul in the long grass and steps down to the play area are covered with shattered glass which has not been cleaned up. Children are not able to play football and cricket at all now.

Mr Park said: “It’s a shame because it used to be brilliant. I grew up on the avenue where the play park is. My grandparents campaigned for the pond as it used to be to be filled in by the council for the kids to play there. My parents played there when they were young and I used to play there, too.”

Resident Carol Skillen said: “It’s disgusting. With all these community service orders being given out, why can’t they make some of them do the grass cutting? They have the machines rusting in a garage somewhere. We pay our council tax for grass cutting and it’s not being utilised.”

Copeland Council leader Elaine Woodburn said the council understands the problems caused, but the decision to reduce cutting, comes after the Government reduced Copeland’s budget by 30 per cent.

Measures are in place to cut grass alongside footpaths regularly and most open areas will now be cut once a year. In some areas community groups and residents are cutting grass themselves. As a result of the cuts Copeland now employs 86 fewer people than a couple of years ago – including eight fewer in grass cutting.

Coun Woodburn said: “This area is no different to many others in Copeland. We warned of this when the government cut our budget – you cannot lose £4.5million and not expect to see changes.

“A petition, important as it is, will not provide us with the money that’s been taken away.”

She added: “To make it worse the government has hit us with another 10 per cent cut which will result in even more difficult decisions.

“All members made these decisions and none wanted to. This may not be what people want to hear but difficult times have been forced upon us by a government and minister who simply hate the public sector and penalise us at every opportunity, but kindly allow us to be blamed. I would suggest this petition goes to No 10. They ultimately made the decision.”

To sign the petition go to: http://tinyurl.com/m4qefbk

Have your say

To say that the minister hates the public sector is a bit immature and childish, but that is what we have to put up with.

Posted by Oh Gosh on 18 July 2013 at 22:21

Hmmm same old comment from a so called leader who took a 6k rise in pay ... That's a lot of grass for 6k

Posted by Teresa green on 16 July 2013 at 22:56

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