USING the recreation ground to host a play scheme sparked concerns amongst councillors over safety.

Fordingbridge Town Council’s amenities committee discussed proposals to potentially use the area for the scheme if the school where it was usually held was unable to host it this summer.

Councillor Anna Wilson told the meeting a suggestion had been put forward to help local families struggling during lockdown, both financially and socially, by providing a free play scheme with Turn Up For Fun (TUFF) provision at the Recreation Ground in the summer holidays.

She said the town council had some Covid relief funds which could be used to buy a marquee to put up near the pavilion which could also be used for other community events.

Councillor Pete White welcomed the “lovely idea” but raised concerns about the number of tourists potentially using the Rec during the summer and also safety in terms of the fast flowing river.

Councillor Brian Perkins’ echoed the concerns and said when the Playscheme was on school grounds it was secure with no access from outside where as the Recreation Ground was a “vast area to keep an eye on”.

But Cllr Wilson said the scheme would be run by professionals and children would have to be in the marquee. She admitted there were a lot of issues to consider such as safeguarding, insurance, booking systems, and risk assessments.

The meeting heard other venues could also be looked at.

Councillor Paul Anstey wanted to see “more meat on the bone” over the proposals and councillors agreed to discuss it again when more information was available. Cllr Wilson said an advantage would have been the use of the marquee for community events and groups.

While Cllr Paton said: “If it was just for those events I would be all in favour but I really have grave reservations about the safety of the children. I would never forgive myself if I was the one thatproposed that and something went wrong.”


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