Criticism over new play area in Southwater

Councillors Kate Rowbottom, Ian Howard, Claire Vickers and Jonathan Chowen pictured at the Dinosaur Island site in March with Countryside Officer Anna Chapman. SUS-150403-172239001
Councillors Kate Rowbottom, Ian Howard, Claire Vickers and Jonathan Chowen pictured at the Dinosaur Island site in March with Countryside Officer Anna Chapman. SUS-150403-172239001
  • Toilet facilities ‘can’t cope’ with new play area
  • Children fell into ‘swamp’ next to play equipment
  • Council hoping to address problems

Parents have cited a lack of toilet facilities and a ‘swamp’ as problems with the new Dinosaur Island Adventure Park in Southwater.

The highly anticipated play area partially opened for half term last month, with construction work to complete the park ongoing.

However, it has attracted criticism from a local mum who visited at the weekend.

The mother, who wished to remain anonymous, explained toilet facilities in the country park ‘weren’t big enough to cope’ and were too far from the play park, and children fell into a large puddle of water that she labelled a ‘swamp’.

She said: “The only toilets are at the visitors centre, on the opposite side of the lake to the play park.

“The long walk was too far for some of the children, and the bushes around the play area were being well used by parents with desperate tiny tots.

“When several of us took our kids round to the loos we found a queue coming out of the door - there were so many families there that the facilities just weren’t big enough to cope.”

She also claimed many children fell into or stepped in the puddle of stagnant water between pieces of play equipment in the middle of the park.

She said: “The results were howling children, smelly clothes and shoes, and hundreds of wet wipes being passed around to clean off the unhappy victims.

“We saw one despairing dad pick up his miserable toddler who landed face first in the mud, and a gang of teenagers pushing each other into the stinking water for a laugh.”

Despite the problems, she said families had a ‘lovely day’ at the park which she praised as a ‘great new free resource’, and added that there were signs warning visitors about the ‘swamp’.

A spokesperson for Horsham District Council said: “Dinosaur Island, the council’s new children’s adventure play area was informally opened for the start of the May half term holidays.

“It has proved very popular with local children so far and a huge amount of positive comment has already been received by the council regarding this new facility.

“Amongst the feedback received, visitors have said they would like to see toilet facilities closer to the attraction. The council is now looking at ways to introduce additional toilets nearer the play area.

“The puddle of stagnant water in the play area is as a result of a local spring being discovered. Improved drainage works are now being carried out to address this problem.”

The council will host an official opening of the park on Saturday July 11.

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