Parents’ safety fears over Sprowston playground

A spate of injuries at a newly-refurbished playground has led to safety concerns from parents.

Four people have told the Evening News about injuries which also include a head wound and a broken arm, but it is thought that more than seven children have broken bones at the Sprowston playground in the last seven weeks.

Sprowston Parish Council clerk June Hunt said she was only aware of one incident since the refurbishment and no full details of any of the incidents had been reported to the park supervisor or the council.

'Our equipment was checked and installed by a reputable manufacturer', she said. 'If an accident is reported then straight away we would be able to take remedial action.'

She said that they also went around each weekend to check for damage to the playgrounds and carry out any work.

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'We have to go around all the time and do safety procedures.'

A �96,931 upgrade to the playground was completed around 10 weeks ago and has attracted many children to the site at the Recreation Ground.

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Completely new equipment, including a train, swings, slide and nest swing were installed. The safety surface was also refurbished and extended.

Fourteen-year-old Sam Shepherd had 32 stitches on his knee after falling in the playground and nine-year-old Kiani Hackett is in a full leg cast after falling off a pole slide.

Sam was returning from a school fair on Friday evening with his brother and friends. He was running when he fell on a curb next to the main slide which he said was jutting out by at least and inch.

'I just thought it was as bit of a graze', he said. 'I was half way home and I looked down and my jeans were ripped.'

It was then that he saw the extent of the injury and his mother took him to Accident and Emergency.

'I had to have 32 stitches. It took quite a while. It got worse before it got better. I couldn't walk on it for a while. I've been reduced to sitting on the sofa and I've had to give up my paper round.

'It was very hard and sharp.'

The Sprowston Community High School student said that he had been using the park for years and had had many falls in the park, but they had not previously led to this kind of injury.

He said he thought the kerb had been filled in since the incident.

His mother Helen said: 'It honestly looked like he had a machete through his knee. There do seem to be a lot of accidents there.

'It was a lovely playground. We spent all the summer holidays down there. They probably went there nearly every day. There was a fairly high slide, but nobody fell off it.'

Diana Hackett's nine-year-old Kiani, from Half Mile Road off Aylsham Road, was also injured at the playground and broke her leg in two places.

Her daughter had been playing with her siblings and cousins in the park the week before half term when she fell off the slide.

Mrs Hackett said her daughter was on the pole with her legs hooked over ready to slide down and she fell through the gap.

She said that she did not think they had fitted enough of the rubber flooring and she didn't think the new equipment was suitable for the many younger children who use the park because of the nearby junior and infant schools.

The park is recommended for children up to the age of 14 and each of the pieces of equipment have small labels with an age recommendation which the council are planning to make bigger.

Sam Cook's daughter Lauren Siers, 14, hit her head when she was sitting in the nest swing.

'I was sitting cross-legged and my friend grabbed the rope and I bashed my head,' she said.

Ms Cook said she thought the blue ring around the swing was too hard. 'I did not contact the park because I was in too much of a panic,' she said.

Kerry Howlett's daughter Abigail, seven, from Dixon Road in Sprowston, fell off a bar on the rope bridge.

'She fell back and landed on her elbow. She spent three hours in surgery and had metal pins put in. I would say it was an accident in her case, but I have got a three-year-old and he will be starting at the school. The equipment is just too much for that age range. My son is three and there is nothing here for him now.'

Has your child been hurt at the playground? Contact Evening News reporter Annabelle Dickson on 01603 772426 or email

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