PLANS to move fencing to create a barrier separating the play area from the river at the Recreation Ground in Fordingbridge were turned down.

Fordingbridge Town Council’s amenities committee held an extraordinary meeting last month to consider the proposal.

This comes after the proximity of the play area to the river was flagged up in a Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) report.

Councillor Diane Paton said: “It is an expense we can do without and I can also see no advantage to it. I think it is actually putting people nearer the river. It is the area where the ducks are and the kids like to feed the ducks and to have dogs there is wrong.”

However, Councillor Paul Anstey admitted there was a “dog issue to it” but pointed out the accessibility to the river embankment by children in the play area was deemed a medium risk by RoSPA and the movement of the fence was to put a “physical barrier” in place.

Councillor Anna Wilson questioned the proposal and said: “Children play on the beach; we don’t fence off the sea do we?”

Councillor Edward Hale said the equipment was away from the river and

felt the fencing would block visibility and could potentially create a “higher risk”. It would also impact on the appearance of the area.

Cllr Ansty asked if the council was prepared to accept a medium risk as the fencing was way a way of addressing the risk.

But Cllrs Paton and Wilson felt the risk could never be taken away.

Cllr Paton said: “We can’t take the risk away. The risk will still be there.”

This was echoed by Cllr Wilson, who added: “You would find yourself in a similar situation wherever you put the fence. They will find a bit of river up stream or whatever and jump into. That area they have access to at the moment seems to be one of the safer parts.”

The committee agreed a motion not to move the fence while Cllr Anstey voted against it.

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