Council bosses remove wheelchair-friendly swing after repairs for repeated vandalism prove too expensive

A swing in Seaton Carew specifically designed to be used by people in wheelchairs has been removed after “multiple incidents of anti-social behaviour”.

By Nic Marko
Wednesday, 20th April 2022, 12:40 pm

Hartlepool Borough Council chiefs confirmed the decision has been taken to remove the accessible swing from Seaton Park, as they do not have “the budget to support the continued repairs”.

Local authority bosses noted difficulties in obtaining replacement parts from outside the UK meant the swing spent “long periods out of action”, and was subject to further vandalism shortly after works were carried out.

But they hope to replace it with a different piece of accessible play equipment – if funding can be secured.

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The site of the removed accessible swing in Seaton Carew

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A borough council spokesperson said: “Since being installed, the swing has been damaged on a number of occasions following multiple incidents of anti-social behaviour.

“Whilst regular repairs have been carried out, difficulties in obtaining replacement parts from outside the UK mean that the swing has spent long periods out of action.

“In addition, these works have proved expensive. Unfortunately, as soon as the swing has been repaired we have seen further vandalism.

“Weighing up these issues, a decision was taken to remove the swing as we don’t have the budget to support the continued repairs and replacement of parts.

“It is hoped that we will be able to replace the swing with an alternative, accessible piece of equipment, although this will depend upon the availability of funding.”

Cllr Gordon Cranney, Seaton ward representative, said he was disappointed the equipment had been removed.

He said: “I am devastated that this is the result of what has been a very problematic piece of equipment, as when working it is very satisfying to witness the pleasure it brings.”

Funding to provide the equipment was agreed by councillors in 2020 and it was installed last year.

It came as council chiefs outlined increased investment in several play parks to provide more facilities for families, including those with disabilities.

Along with Seaton Park, Ward Jackson Park and Burn Valley Gardens also benefited from new facilities under Hartlepool’s neighbourhood investment programme.

Cllr Sue Little, who campaigned for the equipment to be installed, speaking at the time, said she was “so proud to be a Seaton ward councillor” and provide the swing for “children and young adults who would never have been on one before”.