The Valley Slide at Rushmere Country Park is currently closed pending a decision to be made on its future as part of the play offer at the park due to the risks posed by potential public liability claims.

This decision has created much media interest and a large response from visitors on the park's Facebook page but we believe this was the most responsible action to take following the outcome of a public liability claim made against The Greensand Trust last month.

The public liability claim was made in regard to an injury sustained by a young child while using the slide in 2014, and was heard at Milton Keynes Magistrates Court on Wednesday 17 January, where the Judge decided in favour of the claimant, awarding damages of £5,000.

As a result, the slide was closed immediately and its future, as part of the play offer at Rushmere Country Park, is currently under review by the charity.

The Trust does not wish to go into the specifics of the case brought against us, but we can confirm that the slide has always and continues to meet European safety standards as verified by regular independent play inspections. 

Signage accompanying the slide was made more prescriptive in 2015 as it became apparent accompanying adults were allowing very young children to use the slide, when a more suitable slide is available for under 5’s. 

 

We conscientiously check and maintain the slide to a very high standard and believe there is nothing more that we could do to ensure the slide is safe for use by our visitors.

Our Play Policy (below) sets out our objectives in terms of play and its importance. 

We realise the slide is very popular with visitors and are giving very careful consideration as to whether, on balance, we can afford to maintain the slide as part of our play offer.

The Greensand Trust Play Policy

As a local charity dedicated to the protection, conservation and enhancement of the local environment, The Greensand Trust actively supports and encourages people to sensitively engage with, explore and learn about their environment.

The provision of both play equipment and natural play opportunities is one method by which we seek to provide opportunities for people within the environment.  This encourages people from an early age to explore and learn while having fun.

The play areas provided are for the enjoyment of children and their parents.  In providing this play area we acknowledge the relationship between risk and play value and take reference from the statement on “Managing Risk and Play” by the Play Safety Forum.

Our play areas are designed to incorporate risk to provide challenge for the children that use it.  In our opinion the level of risk is acceptable and we have adopted a regular maintenance regime to ensure as far as practicable, that this level remains acceptable.

Our equipment is sourced from specialist play companies, and independently checked on a regular basis. Risk assessments have been made for the play area and are available for inspection by any interested party.  The risk assessments will be reviewed in line with any changes to the play area.

We believe that this is a responsible approach to risk and play value and therefore we will not accept any responsibility for any accidents that might occur in these play areas.