Tree-planting scheme turns children's playing field into "mud bath", says Bamber Bridge mum

A disabled Bamber Bridge mum says a tree-planting scheme has destroyed a children's playing field.

By Laura Longworth
Tuesday, 11th February 2020, 6:00 am
Deborah Jane Johnston with her daughter Maisy.
Deborah Jane Johnston with her daughter Maisy.

Council bosses have turned grassland between Collins Road and Maple Drive in Bamber Bridge into a "mud bath", according to mum-of-four Deborah Jane Johnston (50).

She says her seven-year-old daughter Maisy is now forced to use a gravelled area full of potholes as she no longer has a safe place to play outside where she is visible from her house.

Deborah, whose house looks onto the field, added: "It's terrible. We used to play on there as kids. Now it's just ruined. It's just heart-breaking.

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South Ribble Borough Council has planted trees in the playing field near Collins Road as part of a scheme to help tackle climate change.

"My little girl used to ride her bike there, and play football and squash with my partner, but now it's just a mud bath.

"It's totally unfair. While she's on the field, we know where she is. It's just a shame really. She came home from school, saw the trees and her heart broke."

Several residents identified Collins Road as an area for tree-planting during numerous consultations, according to Coun. Paul Foster, leader of South Ribble Borough Council.

He added: "This forms part of the council’s plan to plant 110,000 trees throughout the borough, in a bid to help address the negative effects of climate change.

“We will contact the resident concerned to discuss her concerns and see how we can adapt the scheme to address the needs of the majority of residents.

“The council is currently investing in a number of our play areas to provide exciting facilities which can be used by children of all ages and abilities.

“The nearest play area is on Withy Grove Park – and this playground is one of the largest and best equipped in Lancashire.”

But Deborah says she is too unwell to take her daughter to the park and would instead watch Maisy safely play in the field from her window. Her partner, James Howarth, also struggles to take Maisy out because he is Deborah's full-time carer.

"I have mobility issues and my balance is a struggle. I had a minor stroke two years ago and I'm waiting for an operation on my big toe. I can go to the top of my garden but I'm diabetic and my blood's very thin so I get cold quickly and pick up illnesses easily," she added.

"Maisy is too young to go to Withy Grove Park on her own. The car park at the back of us is full of potholes and there aren't any other children on our road for her to play with. That's why we need to watch her and my main concern is that she now has nothing to do."