Calls for temporary ban on bouncy castles after death of child at Gorleston

Police cordon around the Bounce About play area at Gorleston beach. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Police cordon around the Bounce About play area at Gorleston beach. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

An MP has called for a temporary ban on bouncy castles after a young girl was killed after being thrown from one on Gorleston beach.

The incident happened on Sunday morning, with the ambulance service receiving more than a dozen calls. The child was taken to the James Paget Hospital, but died.

On Monday, Robert Halfon, MP for Harlow, called for safety concerns around bouncy castles to be debated in the House of Commons.

Mr Halfon has been campaigning to see a temporary ban placed on the inflatables until a review of regulations can be undertaken.

It comes after the death of seven-year-old Norwich girl Summer Grant, who died in Harlow in 2016 after a bouncy castle she was on blew away.

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Mr Halfon told BBC Radio Norfolk that he had written to John Bercow, speaker of the House of Commons, over the weekend asking him to table an urgent question over the issues.

He said: 'The first thing I'd say is my heart goes out to the family, this is just a horrific tragedy and follows a horrific tragedy in Harlow two years ago.

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MORE: Child killed after being thrown from bouncy castle on Gorleston beach'What I'm saying to the government is there needs to be urgent investigations into the regulations and inspection regimes for bouncy castles and that there should be a temporary ban - I stress temporary on bouncy castles in public areas - until we are sure that they are safe.'

He said the incidents in Harlow and Gorleston were not 'isolated', and that there had been a number of injuries on bouncy castles before 2016.

'All I'm saying is there needs to be an urgent investigation into the regulations and the way these castles are inspected and who does the inspecting before they're able to be used, because you cannot risk such a tragedy happening again,' he said.

When asked how the ban would be enforced, he said he hoped a debate in the Commons would provide more clarity.

'It's incredibly complex, you mentioned yourself that the regulations are very old and haven't been updated for some time but that's why I'm saying there should be a temporary ban and I want the government to set out how they think that should best work,' he said.

He said the incident in Harlow, which in June saw Shelby and Will Thurston found guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence, 'hurt a whole community and family', and caused pain he said the family would be unlikely to recover from.

'I think that clearly thousands of children use bouncy castles and they're fun, I'm not a killjoy, I'm a free spirit and I don't like banning things, but after what has happened the government needs to look at this seriously until we know for sure they're safe and these regulations are updated,' he said.

Mr Halfon said he had discussed the issues with some MPs, but that he hoped to get support if the speaker granted a debate today.

But even if not, he said he planned to raise it in parliament and table an early day motion, a formal motion submitted for a debate which has no fixed date.

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