Public outcry over ‘scaffold pole’ railings at picturesque seafront garden

Railings over a bridge at Ilfracombe’s Runnymede Gardens have been branded ‘health and safety gone mad’.

Branded ‘scaffold poles’ by many residents, they appeared on the small bridge at the end of last week.

A post on the Gossip Around Ilfracombe group on Facebook has prompted more than 350 comments, many accusing gardens owner North Devon Council of taking ‘health and safety’ to extremes.

But today (Monday) the council has said following consultation with its own health and safety officer, they will be removed.

Mark Kentell, manager for parks, leisure and culture said: “NDC’s grounds maintenance contractor expressed concerns about how slippery the crossing points were when wet. NDC made an initial decision to immediately mitigate any risk and instructed the installation of the railings.”

The decision had infuriated many on Facebook. Several said the money could be better spent on local services.

Many said they jumped the stream as a child – or still did - without coming to harm.

It was pointed out anyone not wishing to cross the tiny stream and bridge simply had to walk around it.

‘Dismay’

In an open letter to Ilfracombe mayor and district councillor Paul Crabb, appealing to him to use his offices to reverse the decision, Sue Garwood said: “As one of the group of people responsible for the organisation of Commemoration Day in 2014 and also for the siting of the WW1 memorial dedicated to the men from the town who died during the Great War, I wish to voice my dismay and disappointment at the railings that have been erected so close to the memorial in Runnymede Gardens.

“The railings have completely spoiled the setting of this beautiful memorial which has become a place for peace and reflection in a small corner of the gardens. To my great sadness this morning I witnessed children using them as a climbing frame and wondered how long it would be before the memorial itself might be damaged.”

Mr Crabb had been unaware of the installation of the railings, but said on Facebook he would raise the matter with the district council.

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