Sunday, 28 Nov 2021

Fury as fence put up to stop kids playing footie in park as neighbours kick off

Furious parents have slammed their local council after a fence was erected in a park making it impossible for children to play football.

The debacle centres around a football goal painted on a wall in Headweir Road park in Cullompton, Devon, where now a diagonal rail has been erected by Mid Devon District Council.

Brain Reeby lives alongside the park and claims that he painted the goal on his garage for youngsters some 35 years ago, reports Devon Live.

Mr Reeby said: “I painted the goal so they would kick the ball in the corner of the park instead of near the road where they could damage cars and pick them up in the road.

“The goal has been there ever since, and people have loved it.”

However, he explained that a minority of neighbours have been complaining and at one point police were called to the park to resolve a row between children.

He continued: “After it, all went quiet for a while; the next thing we know is that a fence and a wooden rail has been built.”

Devon Live has been told that the new installation cost around £3,500.

Barbara Gozna, who started a petition four years ago to save the park from closure, said: “Some of the neighbours don’t like balls being kicked over to their garden and children apparently looking into their property, but it’s the same for all residents living along here.

“If they kick the ball over into the garden, you just kick it back.”

She added that her two boys both played football in the park and were upset they could no longer do so.

She added: “Some will continue to try and play football here, but they may trip over, and they’ll end up with splinters in their hands or will trip over and hurt themselves.”

The cost of maintaining the park was taken on by Cullompton Town Council four years ago when Mid Devon District Council was looking to dispose of play areas.

An unnamed Cullompton Town Council member said: “The logical outcome if there continue to be problems, is that the town council will give it back to Mid Devon and the fence will come down.

“The fence itself would have probably solved the problem, but it did not need the rail in front.”

In a joint response between Mid Devon District Council and Cullompton Town Council, a spokesperson claimed to "appreciate" the painting of the goal but insisted that the "area has been marked as a no-ball games area and has been for some time following previous concerns".

They added: “Both councils have a duty to ensure that activities taking place in a play area do not cause a nuisance to residents of nearby properties and to ensure no damage is done to premises or neighbouring properties.”

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