Funding rules for ‘natural’ play

Roger Barrie and his granddaughter Evie Furness in the weed-strewn play area at Felton.

Roger Barrie and his granddaughter Evie Furness in the weed-strewn play area at Felton.

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A playground in a north Northumberland village has been described as an ‘overgrown garden’ after a girl was stung by nettles while using a slide.

Roger Barrie says the recreation area at Felton is not fit for purpose, with thistles, nettles and brambles now running rampant.

He hit out after his two-year-old grandchild was nettled twice, because the slide she was playing on descends into shubbery.

“The children’s play area was designed more as a garden, which always needs maintenance. Most shrubs which were planted there are now gone and only brambles, thistles and nettles thrive.

“Felton children rarely go there because of it, but they are often seen at Swarland play area – which is an excellent playground.

“You can often see 30-or-so children playing there on a nice day.”

Parish clerk Lisa Hamlin said: “The funding we received for the play area specified that it had to be natural.

“The weather has been quite extreme and everything is growing at a rapid rate, but we do have a maintenance contract for the play area and it is sprayed and strimmed fortnightly.

“It’s unfortunate that a child was nettled, so the nettles have now been removed.”