Unkempt play area is ‘danger to children’

wasteland at South ELmsall play area
wasteland at South ELmsall play area

LACK of maintenance at a children’s play area has turned it into a ‘wasteland’ and an ‘accident waiting to happen.’

Father-of-two Dean Stenton, of Caddon Avenue, South Elmsall, is frustrated that the play area opposite his home is not being properly looked after.

Along with neighbours, he has struggled to get answers about who is responsible for the ground, and fears for children’s safety, including his own, aged eight and 10.

He said: “It is meant for the children in the area to play on but the grass is overgrown so there could be all sorts of glass and other dangerous things lurking in there, and the equipment is damaged too. It’s an accident just waiting to happen.”

The land is maintained by contractors working for Greenbelt Energy Limited, which took on responsibility for the land after Barratts built the homes on the estate.

But Mr Stenton has been unable to get in touch with the company, and said he feels as though he has been ‘palmed off’.

He has also complained to Wakefield Council about the safety dangers.

He said: “To say it’s frustrating is an understatement. There should be an area for children to play on, not be left to look like an eye sore.

“That land has got worse and worse over the past 18 months and I have tried to find out who owns it and the council is just passing the buck.”

He and a group of neighbours tried to mow it themselves but it was not something they could do regularly.

He said there is also a fence around the area which is poorly maintained, and last month a horse wandered onto the area and started eating the grass and then left droppings on the area.

John Beveridge, head of customer services at Greenbelt, said contractors had been sent to the site three times in April and May.

He said bad weather could have constricted the contractors’ ability to carry out grass cutting and other work.

Mr Beveridge said: “Our contractor is at the site on a regular basis, so it is being maintained. But we have to ensure that the specifications are being met so will be visiting the site soon.

“We thank the residents for bringing it to our attention.”

A Wakefield Council spokesperson said: “We are trying to find out who is responsible for the maintenance of the site and will be considering if any enforcement action is needed.

“As Mr Denton has flagged up concerns about safety we will inspect the site and remove any potential hazard to the public.”