DCSIMG

Council left to foot £30,000 bill over playground arson

C121506-1 Chi Selsey Playground  phot kate

The result of the arson attack in the East Beach playground in Selsey.C121506-1

C121506-1 Chi Selsey Playground phot kate The result of the arson attack in the East Beach playground in Selsey.C121506-1

A PLAYGROUND that was destroyed in an arson attack at Halloween could cost more than £30,000 to replace.

Selsey Town Council discussed the burning of the popular play park, at East Beach Park, in East Beach Road, in Selsey, at a meeting on December 12. “There have been so many parents and children absolutely outraged about what happened,” said Ben Cooper.

Jean Etheridge added: “I have been absolutely inundated with comments about it.”

She added many people had told her they believed the park to be one of the highlights of Selsey.

The playground had a pirate ship design, and had been officially unveiled almost a year to the day before it was burnt to the ground.

However, there was debate as to whether a new structure should be a direct replacement, or a brand-new design.

Carol Purnell thought the council should seek guidance from children and schools as to what the replacement should be.

“Can I ask that we don’t decide whether to replace like-for-like straight away,” she said.

“Hopefully we can get feedback from the school and we have kids who want to talk about the skate park.”

Cllr Cooper agreed: “It would be better to get some input from the kids.”

However, Cllr Etheridge believed it was vital to recreate the original structure.

“If we don’t replace like-for-like they have won,” she said.

Currently the park remains closed and the structure untouched since the fire, as insurance teams are still assessing the damage. Once the debris has been moved, the park should be opened as soon as possible.

Town clerk Gill Jennings confirmed the exact amount quoted for a direct replacement was £30,336.25, not including VAT. The town council is still waiting to hear how much money they will receive from the insurance company before assessing their options.

Council chairman Mike Beal said they would act with ‘vigour’ to ensure the matter was resolved as swiftly as possible.

Two youths, who cannot be named for legal reasons, will appear at a youth court in Chichester on January 9.

 

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