Parents’ appeal to save Masham park

Parents and children  protesting outside the locked playground and park area at Masham.
Parents and children protesting outside the locked playground and park area at Masham.

Angry parents in Masham are appealing to the council to let their children back into the town’s playground, which has been bolted shut since June.

Lucy Scott-Paul – who owns Bah Humbugs sweet shop in Masham Market Place – said she has nowhere to take her two children Louis, two, and Henry, 10 weeks, to play out, as the closed park next to Masham Sports Association is the only place with an outdoor children’s playground.

“It’s a great recreational area and people are now being forced to take their kids elsewhere, such as Pateley Bridge,” Mrs Scott-Paul, 35, told the Gazette.

“It’s great having all the local children using a free facility outside in the fresh air.”

The park – dubbed ‘The Rec’ by local parents – was closed after heavy rainfall made the ground unsafe, and drainage problems have since persisted on the site.

Parents told the Gazette they have appealed to Harrogate Borough Council and Masham Parish Council on several occasions – but park doors hasvestayed shut.

Jon Vennell, 41, who owns Vennell’s restuarant on Silver Street, said closing the park is like “cutting an arm off” for his three children Eva, nine, Peggy, five and Wilf, three.

“Children want a playground. Because Masham is in the outer hebrides, we’re just forgotten about,” he said.

Masham Parish Council lease the land from the Swinton Estate and Harrogate Borough Council provide the play area under an agreement with the parish council – as part of what a Harrogate Borough Council spokesman termed a “goodwill gesture”.

Chairman of the parish council Andrew Burrell said: “At every single stage of the problems that have occurred we have responded promptly on the advice we have been given by drainage specialists.”

A Harrogate Borough Council spokesman said contractors have replaced some sections of the drains and cleared collapsed areas but new water problems have arisen. The borough council’s principal parks officer and drainage contractor are meeting Coun Burrell on Friday, March 22 to see what further work can be carried out to alleviate the problem.