Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

Disabled children shut out of park

Disabled children have been locked out of a specially adapted park after residents complained over “the tone” of noise made by step cushions.





In one instance an autistic boy has had to have his birthday celebrations this weekend cancelled at the sensory park in The Playtrail after staff were forced to close the facility.

The Liberty Consortium-owned sensory park, in the grounds of Belmont and Foyleview special needs schools in Londonderry, is used for children with various disabilities to help them experience sights, sounds and other senses and is useful for autistic children.

Staff today said they were at a loss to understand the complaint as the park closes every night at 6pm year-round.

Project manager at The Playtrail, Mark Roberts, has now called for an urgent meeting with Derry City Council’s environmental health and legal officers to discuss the problem.

He said: “The council has requested that we consider removing the sound cushions as it is possibly creating a noise nuisance. Until we get to the bottom of this we have had to close the park.”

Derry City Council has previously provided £6,500 funding for a noise barrier to be built at the bottom of the sensory garden and a 10 decibel reduction in noise was achieved.

A spokeswoman for Derry City Council's Environmental Health department today said it has had ongoing correspondence with Liberty Consortium.

She added: “Due to the potential for noise nuisance from the use of the step cushions, and continuing concerns about their use expressed by a number of local residents, it has been recommended that the use of the step cushions be discontinued in their current location.

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