Portsmouth City Council labelled 'killjoys' for taking away youngsters' trampoline on health and safety grounds

THE residents of a block of flats in Havant have hit out at ‘killjoy’ council officials who removed play equipment from their communal courtyard.

Monday, 16th August 2021, 12:50 pm

Last week Portsmouth City Council workers removed a trampoline and slide which had been shared by people living in six flats over 'health and safety' concerns.

But the residents have criticised the move, saying there had been no complaints about the use of the safe ‘community’ outdoor play space for their children and that no emergency exits had been blocked.

The play equipment, together with a barbecue and chairs had been collected by the residents of the block of flats in Tangley Walk over recent months in a bid to create a space they could all meet outside safely.

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Residents Jade Jones (seated) and her children, Freddi, one, Michey, five, and Rosie, eight, with Rebecca Powell, left, and Harry Neal, 16, are unhappy with the removal of a trampoline in their communal area by Portsmouth City Council, at their block in Tangley Walk, Westleigh Picture: Chris Moorhouse (jpns 120821-02)

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But in July the council wrote to them warning that everything would have to be removed due to the risk of it blocking exit routes.

Despite being told this was not the case, council workers removed all the equipment during an unannounced visit on Tuesday.

‘Given everything that's gone on for the last year and a half we decided as a group that we wanted to create a space where we could meet together in safe outdoor space,’ Jade Jones, one of the residents said.

Tangley Walk, Westleigh Picture: Chris Moorhouse (jpns 120821-04)

‘We brought in a trampoline and slide for the kids to use as we want them to have somewhere outside to play that was safe and secure,’ she added. 'While we have the park nearby this is our back garden - a place we know they can play safely.

The flats' residents had met for barbecues in the space and that it had helped ‘build a community’, particularly given the effects of the pandemic.

She said the council officials responsible for requesting the equipment be removed were ‘killjoys’ and said she hoped they would ‘see their senses’.

But a spokesman for the city council said keeping the equipment in the courtyard was a 'breach of their tenancy agreements' and that it had to be removed in order to follow 'national health and safety law'.

‘We can allow play equipment like trampolines if residents ask for permission first and supervise their use,' they said. 'They need to be covered up or put away when not being used. This is because they are on our land and we would be liable if someone was hurt using the equipment or in some other way.

‘Residents in the area were reminded about the rules on July 8 and told that if they needed more storage, they could ask us and we would do our best to help.

‘On July 30 we reminded residents again, and asked people to collect their property by August 6. Unfortunately, we had to remove some items still left in the area after that date.

‘There is plenty of green open space in the area for recreation.’