A POPULAR playground in Ventnor has been virtually stripped bare by the Isle of Wight Council, prompting outrage from families.

North Street Playground, which is nestled in among a residential area, had the swings removed last week. It has already lost a climbing frame and other equipment, leaving hardly anything for children to play on.

The council has confirmed it has no plans to re-instate any of the main pieces of play equipment.

Ventnor resident Wendy Marshall said the playground was created after houses were bombed and destroyed during the Second World War.

She said no-one in the town or on the town council seemed to have been notified of the latest changes.

Mum-of-two Tara Barnes said: “It was a shock to go there yesterday to find half the equipment had been taken away.

“I know so many children who live in Ventnor and surrounding areas who always use this playground, us included, and it's such a shame.

“There will soon be nothing for the children to do in Ventnor.”

Jacqueline Cook said: “It is such a shame to hear about the wilful destruction of North Street playground. I was bought up on North Street and we loved being able to use this playground, as my son and niece do now when they visit their nana.

“There are precious few play areas in Ventnor. It also sets a dangerous precedent for the council to tear apart other play areas.”

Mum Kirsty Chapman also lives nearby. She said: “Our kids and those before have spent countless hours there, making friends, breaking friends and building relationships that have gone onto adulthood.

“It’s still really well used. The kids were excited at first when they saw the swings gone, assuming a more modern replacement was coming. But bit by bit the council have taken it away.”

An Isle of Wight Council spokesperson said: “North Street is a council playground. We risk assess all playground equipment regularly and where wear and tear is identified we either repair, if possible, or remove the equipment on safety grounds.

"Unfortunately, when we recently inspected North Street, the swings were beyond repair and if left, would have posed a risk to users of the play area, so have been removed and will not be replaced. The bouncy ride can be fixed and will be back in place as soon as possible.”

A Keep Our North Street Playground petition has been launched.

Update: A public meeting is being held to discuss options for the playground. 

It will be at Ventnor Library on Thursday, April 25, at 7pm. All are welcome.

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