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Great Chart dad calling for safety review of Ashford Designer Outlet Garden of England playground

A dad is calling on shopping centre bosses to review the safety of a £400,000 playground after he claims he saw children getting injured on the new equipment.

The father-of-two branded the Garden of England-themed play area at Ashford Designer Outlet "dangerous" and says he will not be returning until staff take safety seriously.

It comes after he witnessed children exiting the tower slide at speed and crashing into the fence and toddlers during a busy weekend.

The Garden of England themed play area
The Garden of England themed play area

The 32-year-old, who did not want to be named, said: "I have been to the playground a couple of times since it has opened and sit and watch while my children play.

"It struck me that a lot of children were getting hurt on it.

"The playground has quite a fast tube slide and children seem to fly off it. It is very close to the fence.

A dad is calling for bosses to review the safety of the playground
A dad is calling for bosses to review the safety of the playground

"What they need is a safe landing zone to stop kids crashing into people or the fence.

"There is also nothing to stop children climbing up the slide and jumping off it.

"When you have children and can see children getting hurt - you want to do all you can to prevent it."

Inside the new play area
Inside the new play area

The Great Chart resident raised concerns with the guest services team and was told that the £400,000 playground meets safety regulations.

He added: "I don't feel happy with the way they have responded as they haven't really accepted the risks or said they will take steps to make it safer.

"The site say it is down to parent supervision but some parents supervise their children well and others less well.

"They have tried to cram too much in a small area - it has been done very nicely but safety should be put ahead of aesthetics.

"If they don't take safety that seriously then I wouldn't feel comfortable letting my children use the park."

The £90 million extension is set to be complete this autumn
The £90 million extension is set to be complete this autumn

McArthurGlen said the playground passed various risk assessments and safety audits prior to opening in May.

An outlet spokesman said: "The health and safety of all our shoppers is of paramount importance.

"The new play area complies with EN1176 and EN1177 standards - The British and European Standard for Playground Equipment.

"Prior to opening, the play area went through rigorous risk assessments from both the centre and the play area contractors, KOMPAN UK Ltd, in addition to an independent safety audit.

"As part of ongoing health and safety checks, the play area is regularly inspected and monitored by our management and security teams plus an independent play area safety inspector who log and report any potential issues to KOMPAN UK Ltd, who then assess and carry out any necessary maintenance or repairs.

"To ensure their safety, health and wellbeing, children using the play area must be supervised by an adult at all times."

The expanded outlet is due to open in the autumn, and will include 50 new premium and luxury brands and new facilities such as an events space, food piazza and 725 car additional car parking spaces.

It is also expected to create 500 new jobs in the town.

In June, outlet bosses closed part of the playground due to "extreme weather conditions".

Earlier this month, immigration officers made six arrests at the shopping centre after they found illegal workers building the new extension.

Read more: All the latest news from Ashford

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