Campaigning mother-of-two Kirsten Torrance was celebrating this week the arrival of a fence around the children’s play area in Egerton Park.
This followed months of concern from herself and other parents who were impressed by Rother District Council’s new facility but feared no fence meant children were not safe.
When the PlayZone was opened in August 2012 mums and dads were quick to highlight that little ones might run off or dogs allowed inside by irresponsible owners.
The council answered by saying responsible parents would be in control of their children and that dogs were not allowed off the lead in the park anyway.
Kirsten, of St James’s Close, set up a petition appealing for support in calling for a fence, but also put the issue to Bexhill Town Forum and a full council meeting at the town hall.
She praised the new equipment as “excellent and extremely enjoyable” and said there was no doubt it was a huge success. However she had three major worries - that dogs are brought inside the Play-zone and allowed to foul, that it is difficult to stay in control of more than one child, and that the lack of fence penalises those with disability, either carers or the children themselves, who rely on a barrier for safe play.
Kirsten countered RDC’s claim parents should be responsible for their children and said: “Single parents, child minders, parents whose partner works full time or unsociable hours...These are all groups of people who, without a fence or even a hedge, find it impossible to supervise the children in their care appropriately. This is not a result of them being an irresponsible parent or carer.”
She asked council leader Carl Maynard to provide a barrier - either a fence or a low hedge with gates - to resolve the problem.
Kirsten commented: “The Egerton Play-zone perimeter fencing issue is an important one to not just myself, but hundreds of parents, carers, grandparents and other locals who enjoy visiting Egerton Park.”
This week she was “really pleased” to see the fence had been put up and told the Observer: “People are saying they are really happy about it...Now at least with little ones there is a place for them to go where dogs cannot be.”
A Rother District Council spokesman said: “The original design for the play area was undertaken in close co-operation with residents, parents, council officers, experts in the field of play and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA).
“However, we were contacted by a number of parents who had concerns about the extent of fencing around the play equipment used by the youngest children.
“The safety of children is of paramount importance to us, which is why we have listened to the views of parents and completely fenced off the play area used by under fives.”