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Friends split up over play area age limit
PARENTS have criticised council chiefs for banning seven-year-olds from a playground over antisocial behaviour concerns.
Milton Parish Council put up a sign on Tuesday saying only under-sevens can use the Lambe Avenue playground.
It said it took action after police concerns about antisocial behaviour, but parents branded the cut-off age an “over-reaction”.
It means Caja Jennings, six, cannot play with friend Jazmine Selby, seven at the adventure playground, near Didcot.
Mum Amanda Selby, who pledged to defy the ruling, said: “It is absolutely disgusting. It is a big over-reaction.
“I don’t see why seven- to 10-year-olds should be discriminated against when there is a minority of teenagers who may have caused some upset.”
Caja’s mum Sue, 42, said: “It is absolutely appalling.
“Seven is a ridiculous figure. You can understand it for teenagers.”
Her daughter said: “I am not very happy because they say my friend is not allowed in.”
Dad Simon, a member of the parish council, said he opposed the cut-off point when it was discussed among members.
He said: “I said it was ridiculous, you can’t say a seven-year-oldcan’t go in a kiddies’ playground.
“It is for young children up to their young teens. To cut off at seven seems a slightly odd age.”
Betty Kariri, 38, said the ruling means son Henry Kamau, seven, cannot play with his younger classmates.
The Trenchard Avenue resident said: “He is pretty devastated.
“He can’t use the swings or the slide, he thinks it’s really unfair.
“He can’t play with his friends even though they are in the same class. I wouldn’t mind if it was for the older kids, over 12.”
But parish council chairman Simon Glazebrook said: “It all started from the local Pcso’s concerns about older kids, 15, 16 years old, hanging about on the playground with broken cans.
“It is a danger for younger ones. As there is no sign there it is difficult to say ‘you can’t be here’.”
Asked why seven-year-olds were being banned for the actions of teenagers, he said: “We drew a line somewhere and it happened to be seven. We could have put eight or six and be having the same conversation.”
But he said the council would consider reversing the ruling if there was enough “commotion” from villagers.
Police spokesman Francine Rodrigues said: “A Pcso from the neighbourhood police team discussed the signage at the play park with the council.
“The signage is related to the suitability of the equipment for the user’s age group and needs to be in place for this reason.”