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Bungling officials say sorry after playground mix-up leads to loss of kiddies’ site
THE elected head of Worcester’s parks has apologised after staff ripped up a popular playground – saying the city council was “sorry”.
Councillor Matthew Lamb, cabinet member for cleaner and greener, said the authority should have consulted with politicians before starting to dismantle the play area in Howcroft Green, Warndon Villages.
As your Worcester News reported earlier this month, workers halted the wrecking spree halfway through after ward councillors said they had not been informed it was being taken down.
Discussions are now due to take place to see if Warndon Parish Council can take over responsibility for the site.
Coun Lamb said: “I’m quite happy to apologise for the mistake – on learning of the error, the head of cleaner and greener went to a Warndon Parish Council meeting to apologise personally for what happened.
“It was a mistake and as the buck has got to stop somewhere, I apologise.”
Before the dismantling took place an e-mail was sent to two councillors representing the Gorse Hill ward, Roger Berry and Geoff Williams, after a member of staff wrongly thought it was in their patch.
It meant when staff moved in to take items away, the politicians representing the area had no idea it was taking place, including Conser-vative Councillor Stephen Hodgson.
Tempers flared during a full council meeting, where he got into an angry exchange with the Mayor of Worcester, Councillor Pat Agar, over it.
He said: “When this review of play areas was being done I thought members of the council would be consulted before any closures take place – I wasn’t told.”
He continued to shout ab-ove Coun Agar, which led to her using her hammer to smack the table in an att-empt to calm him down.
It led to shouts across both sides of the chamber, with Labour Councillor Jo Hodges saying it was a “disgraceful” way to talk to the mayor.
As part of the review, play parks in Aldersey Close, Old Tolladine Road, Weir Lane, Oaklands, Debdale, Swallow-fields and Cromwell Crescent are either getting or have had revamps.
Elsewhere in the county, £55,000 has been earmarked for a new play area for Dines Green, which currently doesn’t have one.
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