12:00 Wednesday 04 December 2013

Call for a safer Heath play area

Written byJOANNA CRAIG

INCREASED police patrols are ‘not enough’ to make a children’s play area safe according to a town councillor.

As well as a greater police presence in the area next to the Heath Community Centre, Councillor James Russell has said the park needs to be moved closer to the community centre to make it safe for children and teenagers.

The East Staffordshire Local Policing Unit recently announced they were increasing patrols to tackle anti-social behaviour which has been reported in the area, as well as instances of alleged drug dealing.

Councillor James Russell said: “It is of course good news to hear of increased patrols at the Heath play area.

“It does not entirely answer our concerns however.

“What we need there is a safe play area for children, and safe area for meeting and relaxing for older children and teenagers.

“The problem is a minority of people using the area for drinking and allegedly as a drug trading area.

“I would welcome further steps to reduce the nuisance this causes to locals as well as the danger it poses to the young people using the area for its intended purpose.

“To this end I would still call for improved lighting and consideration of moving the area of the play equipment.

“An investment in ensuring that local children can play and meet safely, close to home, has got to be good for all of Uttoxeter.”

Sara Botham, Neighbourhood Development Co-ordinator for East Staffordshire Borough Council said: “The issue of the play area at the Heath centre has been brought to our attention and we are looking into it.

“We don’t have the funds currently to move the whole park as it would be expensive, but we are considering installing more lighting.”

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