FUN, FUN, FUN: Children at the play park opening
FUN, FUN, FUN: Children at the play park opening

VILLAGERS are withholding payment for play park equipment after complaining several new items are faulty.
A volunteer group spent more than a year raising £50,000 to overhaul the Wesley Terrace play area, in Middleton-in-Teesdale.
As well as organising fundraising events, the volunteers carried out community surveys to decide on the final pieces that would be part of the new park.
The equipment had been scheduled to be installed in April, but due to the coronavirus lockdown it was delayed until July.
The refurbished park was opened in the last week of August and was an instant hit with children.
However, after only a few weeks, several items have been found to be faulty – rope on a climbing net is fraying, “toot tubes” don’t emit noise and ground finishing work have been described as unsatisfactory.
Clerk Judith Mashiter told members of Middleton-in-Teesdale Parish Council that she had been in contact with Sutcliffe Play Scotland, which had been contracted to install the equipment.
She said: “They have been back and forwards to the site and we have given three quarters of the money.
“The toot tubes are to be replaced because they are sticking and haven’t been manufactured right – despite being greased they won’t go down.
“We raised the issue that the four timber posts on the climbing net were supposed to have steel collars they have installed plastic collars.”
The company has also agreed to replace the climbing net as the ropes.
“I don’t know if that will solve the problem.” Ms Mashiter added. “The four timber posts that hold the net were supposed to be square, but if you look carefully, they are not.”
Cllr Christine Gilbert asked whether it was possible to get someone other than the company’s area representative to visit.
She added the managing director had written to the council during the lockdown to provide reassurances the company was going to be able to fulfil the order.
Cllr Adam Hearn said: “We are in the power position because we haven’t paid all the money and we could spend a lot of it [if it is not working]. I think it should be absolutely perfect until we hand over the money.”
Cllr Kevin Tallentire said: “Withholding the money does put us in a better position for getting things sorted.”
Cllr Bob Danby said: “If they have taken out surfaces, they have some responsibility and the work should be to a reasonable condition and there were issues with run off areas.”
Cllr Andy Mitchell said: “If I remember rightly there was a very large sum of money for the top soil.”
Cllr John Miller suggested inviting the company’s managing director for a site visit.