A SLIDE where generations of Newport children played for more than 30 years was torn down by the city council - which blamed EU safety regulations for the move.

Residents in Pill yesterday lamented the end of an era and blasted Newport City Council following the removal of the landmark last Friday.

People say they are still in the dark as to why a slide installed more than 30 years ago and used by generations of youngsters was taken down, with Pill councillors Ron Jones and Ibraham Hayat unaware it had even gone when we contacted them.

A spokeswoman for Newport City Council said it no longer meets European play regulations.

She said that to replace the slide will take a complete redesign and the local authority doesn’t yet know if it will be replaced.

Sarah Wigmore, 37, called the slide, at the park off Mendalgief Road “the heart of Pill for children”.

She added: “It’s a local landmark and generations of youngsters have played there.

“It’s a central feature and in summer kids pour water down it and slide down on bin liners.”

Pill residents said the slide was installed when slum housing was demolished in the 1980s.

All the earth and rubble was made into a ‘tump’ that was grassed over, with the slide then placed on this.

Residents have taken to Facebook page Pill Pulse to vent their frustrations, with Helen Roche said: “It’s just wrong our kids won’t have any of the lovely memories we have.”

Robert Taylor wrote: “My childhood memories gone.”

Councillor Ron Jones said: “It is quite annoying no-one told me.

But, children, grandchildren have played there, there’s no reason for it go unless it was unsafe.”

Fellow councillor Ibraham Hayat hadn’t been told either and vowed to drive to the area to survey the situation.

National campaign body Play Wales assistant director Marianne Mannello said having spaces to play helped to make youngsters feel secure.

She added: “Children are key members of our communities, and having welcoming places to play is of great consequence to all children and young people.

“As adults we need to foster environments that support this.”

‘It’s a bit sad it has now gone’

HAYLEY REES, 30, said: “There’s always lots of kids on it. It’s a bit sad it has gone.”

Joanne Glover, 42, said: “It’s a Pill institution. We’d say to the council, bring back the Pill slide!”

Her daughter, Kodie Jones, 9, said: “It was great, we used to like to see who could go fastest down it.”

Nicole Lao, 23, said: “There’s nothing there now, there used to be monkey bars and everything but now there’s nothing and they wonder why kids mess about on the street. ”

Paul Lewis, caretaker at St Michaels RC School, said: “The slide was very important to children, it was a shock to see it removed.”

Euro rule EN1176 'is the culprit'

A NEWPORT City Council spokeswoman said the safety of children is of “paramount importance”.

She said the slide in Pill doesn’t meet the European Safety Standards for play equipment (EN1176) and after an annual inspection carried out by external assessors and regular checks by staff, it was decided to remove it.

She added: “All inspections are carried out in accordance with the which includes the requirements for slides. Upon inspection the slide no longer meets the latest health and safety standards and expert advice was that the slide was removed.

“To replace the slide will require a complete redesign and it will be looked at as part of the council’s overall replacement programme for play equipment.”


COMMENT: Tell us why in future

PLAY equipment used by thousands of Newport children for decades has been torn down because of European health and safety rules.

In the grand scheme of things, the removal of a slide from Pill might not seem particularly important.

But try telling that to the local community.

The giant slide near the Pill Harriers rugby and football pitches has been in place for 30 years and has been described as a landmark and important for local children.

It has been removed by Newport City Council because it no longer meets European safety standards for play equipment.

At least the people of Pill now have a reason for the removal of the slide.

Before today all they knew was that it was gone – which is more than the area’s two city councillors knew.

It strikes us that issues like this that have a direct effect on communities need to be communicated properly.

People in Pill are genuinely upset the slide has gone – but they are also annoyed that the council did not bother to tell them it was happening.

Removing the slide may well be the right thing to do. But for local people to see workmen turn up and take down a much-loved part of the community without warning is just not on.

The council exists to serve local people.

In this instance it has let them down.