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Canterbury City Council tenants in Whitstable flats won't let children play on 'dangerous' decking


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Concerned council tenants are refusing to let their children play outside because of “dangerous” decking they've branded a health hazard.

Residents are urging the local authority to rip up broken boards at two blocks of flats in St Andrew’s Close, Whitstable, as they fear someone could be seriously hurt.

Victoria Brown talks about the dangers posed by the damaged decking

They say the wood is rotten and unstable and laden with splinters and nails, with missing panels leaving large gaps.

One mum says her young daughter had to be taken to Estuary View Medical Centre earlier this month with an injured ankle after riding her scooter into one of the holes.

Tenants also claim a mountain of litter beneath the decking is attracting rats, mice and other vermin.

Victoria Brown, 49, said: “There are three blocks of flats and we have some very dangerous communal decking. It is rotting, mouldy and they have worn safety grips.

Victoria Brown, 49, wants the decking to be ripped up at St Andrew's Close in Whitstable
Victoria Brown, 49, wants the decking to be ripped up at St Andrew's Close in Whitstable

“There is tons of rubbish, dirt and horrible stuff underneath the decking, which hasn’t been cleared for years.

“I don’t understand why the city council will not come, rip it up and make it concrete. It is disgraceful.”

Mrs Brown says residents have seen rats and mice beneath the decking because of the build up of rubbish.

“It is rotting and smells in the summer because of the heat – it is in a terrible state,” she added. “There are already holes where there are missing panels and someone will fall through it and either break bones or crack their head open.

“Repairs are not good enough. Somebody has to come out and look at what we’re going on about. I am ringing the council every day.”

Victoria Brown, 49, wants the decking to be ripped up at St Andrew's Close in Whitstable
Victoria Brown, 49, wants the decking to be ripped up at St Andrew's Close in Whitstable

Hannah Elvidge, 33, has four children aged between 15 weeks and 11, and has lived there for 10 years.

“It is so dangerous with all the nails and splinters, which the kids could get with them running around,” she said.

“I won’t let my kids play by themselves.

“I can’t let my two-year-old out here to play and he loves the outside. It isn’t fair as we don’t have a garden.”

Ms Elvidge had to seek medical attention for her nine-year-old daughter following an incident on the decking this month.

The decking at one of the blocks of flats in St Andrew's Close, Whitstable
The decking at one of the blocks of flats in St Andrew's Close, Whitstable

“She was on her scooter during the Jubilee and went through one of the holes,” she explained.

“I had to take her to Estuary View because she really hurt her ankle. She has also banged her head while running [along the decking] and falling over.

“My two-year-old also tripped over on a bowed bit where one of the holes are.

“We should be able to enjoy it in the summer instead of worrying about the kids going to A&E.”

Jessica Palmer, 32, has lived in St Andrew’s Close for nine years and has four children aged one to 13.

Splinters stick out of the decking at the block of flats in St Andrew's Close in Whitstable
Splinters stick out of the decking at the block of flats in St Andrew's Close in Whitstable

“My daughter is only a year-and-a-half old and I’m not happy for her to be out here playing constantly,” she said.

“I am worried she is going to catch her foot on the loose parts or go straight through it, as it is so rotten.”

Jason Cubbage, 51, has lived there for 10 years and sometimes looks after his 18-month-old granddaughter.

“She has just started to run about and I won’t let her out there on it,” he said.

“It’s a no-go zone, but she wants to get out there.”

Jason Cubbage, 51, will not let his granddaughter play on the decking
Jason Cubbage, 51, will not let his granddaughter play on the decking

Fellow resident Shannon Ridge, 26, added: “If it rains, it is the slipperiest thing you have ever been on.

“It is not safe for children. I’ve got a two-year-old and I wouldn’t let him come out here at all.

“If the decking was replaced, I would be able to come out here all the time. I would feel safe.”

It is understood the decking was installed about 15 years ago.

A spokesman for Canterbury City Council said: "Concerns have been raised with us about decking at these properties and we are in the process of assessing what work is required."

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