ASTONISHED mums and dads have hit out at a ‘ridiculous’ council letter banning them from having children's paddling pools and trampolines in their communal garden.

Parents in the Hawksmoor Road flats in Cutteslowe received the letter from Oxford City Council this week ordering them to remove the plastic pools, which children have been using to cool off in the scorching heat, because of ‘health and safety’.

ALSO READ: Another trampoline ban for 'safety reasons' 

Residents say the council is being ‘over the top’ about what is essentially 'plastic with water in'.


The council also told tenants to remove trampolines which they say have been there for years and even children's toys by tomorrow – or they will be charged for the removal.

Neighbours, who happily share the grassy area between their flats and host regular bring-and-share barbecues, said the communal garden 'brings people together'.


However in the letter, which was sent on Friday, the council's tenancy management officer wrote: “Although I understand that you are trying to enjoy the nice weather and provide activities for the children, unfortunately due to health and safety and insurance purposes, the council must take actions to ensure the safety of all.

“For this reason we must ask you to remove your belongings.”


Residents said they only received the letter on Monday, giving them just five days to try to negotiate with the council for a delay.

Ten-year-old Aaliyah Flynn, who plays in the communal area with her friends every day, told the Oxford Mail: "I'm so angry.

"If they come and take the trampoline away I’m going to get everybody to lay on it, then they can’t remove it."

Chris Crawford and his wife Lynn, who have lived in the flats for six years, said: "This is a communal area. The kids have a good laugh here and the council have gone a bit over the top."

In its letter, the council advised parents to send children to the nearby parks at Cutteslowe and Sunnymead, which both have outdoor 'splash areas'.

However Mr Crawford, who has two daughters aged eight and 10, said: “One of my little ones has ADHD, they can’t just walk there. Out here we can see them, and they have fun."

Mrs Crawford added: “Now the 10-year-old's at an age where the park is getting really boring.

“Yeah, there is a splash park down the road, but we’re still the responsible adults.

“We don’t need the pools all year round, but we at least want them until the end of summer, and now we’ve heard this heatwave will be going on until October. They’re just plastic with water in.”

David Saxon, who has lived in the flats for nine years, said he and other residents at least wanted to delay the removal until the end of summer.

He went on: "Some of the pools have been here nearly seven years now. If you take the pool, there'll be nothing here for the younger children."

Mr Saxon also said the pools had been especially popular during the hot temperatures – which soared into the 30s earlier this week – the same week that the council asked residents to remove them.

In its letter, the council pointed out that 'section 18.3' of its tenancy agreement stated that residents 'must not block, obstruct, create or leave any hazards on landing, corridor, stairwell, lift, refuse chute, access way, fire escape or any other shared areas'.

The list includes, but is not limited to, 'personal items', household rubbish, bikes, plants and mobility scooters.

Shalay Abbott, who has lived in the flats for five years with her five children said : “There’s been no accidents here – it’s such a shame. If I move out, I’m coming back here – it’s a free day out really isn’t it?”

Leigh Newell, who has three grandchildren aged eight, 11 and 14 living nearby the flats, said: “They absolutely love it. I am 100 per cent behind saving this.

“It’s one big community and it’s great to see as I haven’t seen it since I was younger.”

In a statement, the city council's head of housing a property services Stephen Clarke said: “We’ve had to ask people to clear the communal areas for health and safety reasons; the council would have a degree of liability in the event of any accident.

"However, there are two nearby public parks which have children’s splash pools that we would suggest residents use.

"Those parks are managed and regularly inspected to ensure that children can play safely and enjoy the good weather."

The day after going to print, the Oxford Mail recieved another statement from city councillor Mike Rowley, excutive board member for housing, who said: "Legislation around play equipment provided in communal public spaces is completely different from that for private gardens. There are legal requirements in place to ensure any equipment in public spaces meets RoSPA safety standards and is robust enough for constant use.

"Oxford City Council has a duty of care over all the children who use play equipment in our communal spaces and we take that responsibility incredibly seriously.

"According to RoSPA, up to half of all A&E admissions for injuries in the home sustained by children under 14 are caused by trampolines, and we do not want to take the risk in a communal garden with a store-bought, raised trampoline that has no side netting.”