A ‘substantial’ amount of money is being withheld by Petworth town councillors who are blaming contractors for the muddy bog which is making part of the controversial new Hampers Common play park unusable.
Vice chairman of the council Roger Hanauer told fellow town councillors at a meeting last night (Thursday, February 18), there had been no apology from contractors who had not stopped work even when they were ‘squidging’ around in mud.
“They soldiered on, in my view solely to finish and get their money. They showed no duty of care whatsoever,” he said.
“We should withhold a substantial amount of money because they are not shouldering their responsibility as they should.”
But Neville Fox told fellow councillors he wanted his concerns about withholding such a substantial sum of money placed on record.
“I am not 100 per cent sure we are on sound contractual ground to withhold the money.
“I haven’t seen the contract or correspondence but I am concerned about the amount of money withheld. I hope you have sound reasons.”
Chairman Chris Kemp said the contractors had now moved the fence so only the two towers and the swings were sealed off.
The trim trail and the zip wire was in use and town councillors were told they were popular and being heavily used.
“But sadly it’s still very, very boggy there and until the weather really improves there is no way we can allow people to use the rest of the equipment,” he said.
“We have got to do a bit of work with the contractors to make sure they go back and make sure the play park conforms with ROSPA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) standards.”
He said the problem lay with the safety surface which was uneven and work needed to be done to rectify it.
Nearby residents who were angry they had not been consulted before the new play was built, warned the area had been a pond and was prone to flooding.
But they say they were ignored by the town council and contractors.
Mr Kemp has refuted claims the play park land was under the pond.
“We are all aware that sadly it wasn’t the best month to construct this new play park, but we weren’t aware that we would have the worst weather since 1910. However I have spoken to a lot of people and they are still excited about what has been provided.”
He said the quagmire had been caused because in heavy rain: “when you have half a dozen blokes marching backwards and forwards they plough the ground up. Hampers Common is quite a wet area.”
He said work could be carried out to drain the land and the culvert under the road needed clearing.”
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