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Brighton and Hove City Council counts compensation bills but wants to save cash on playground checks
Brighton and Hove City Council wants to save £40,000 by slashing weekend checks on playgrounds but has spent nearly £25,000 tackling compensation claims.
As part of its budget proposals Brighton and Hove City Council has proposed to cut weekend cover at parks in the city. In the budget paper the council suggested reducing weekend duties in parks including open and closing them, emptying bins and emergency cover.
The papers state that although there will be reductions, some weekend services will be maintained, including cleaning sports pavilions on Sunday mornings.
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But a Freedom of Information request has revealed the same council has spent tens of thousands in legal fees and compensation following injuries at play parks. The council would not confirm how much had been spent on successful claims compared with legal fees and said money paid out “should not be taken as an indication a claim was successful.”
Between 2009 and 2012 the council paid out three times, although five claims were made.
In May 2009 a child suffered an injury playing on a climbing frame at the children’s playground in Hove Lagoon, costing the council £15,123 in legal fees and compensation.
In March 2012 a child sustained an injury on a broken wire fence at a tennis court opposite Hove Cafe. This cost the council £4,075.
In February 2011 another grandchild sustained an injury on a seesaw in Kipling Park, Woodingdean, the council paying out £4,480.
Two other complaints, one where a child sustained an injury playing on a slide in Preston Park in July 2012, and one where a claimant fell off apiece of climbing equipment in Vale Park, Portslade, have not yet resulted in any money being paid out.
Details of injuries in playground accidents were also released – including six at The Level in Brighton.
And children reported breaking limbs and breaking wrists in the “spinning net” in Hove Lagoon.
In August last year Isabelle Moss, aged six, of Brighton, broke her leg in an accident involving the seesaw in The Level, Brighton A council spokeswoman said: “It should be noted that any amounts shown as payments may include or represent legal fees, and should not be taken as an indication that the claim was successful.”
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