‘A child will be killed’ – fears over missing Thame park gate

The park entrance today and, below, the original plans
The park entrance today and, below, the original plans

A ‘major accident’ is waiting to happen at a Thame park if a pedestrian gate is not built, residents have warned.

The town council got permission to put one in when it applied to redesign the Park Street entrance in 2008, but now says it is a mystery why the gate was in the plans.

Elms Park, Thame, 2008 gate design. From South Ox DC website

Elms Park, Thame, 2008 gate design. From South Ox DC website

The council has applied for retrospective permission to leave the entrance with a vehicle gate and a side opening, a design it says is safe.

Residents have described the change as irresponsible and dangerous.

Writing on the district council website, Rebecca Mears said: “I have seen several toddlers and kids on small tricycles and toy carts being grabbed at the very last minute by parents. It is only a matter of time before a child is seriously hurt or killed.”

Another Park Street resident, Stephen Little, wrote online: “The original plans were for a self-closing gate so that is what should have been installed. Please fix this before someone gets hurt.”

The 2008 town council planning application said it was ‘to install a public access gate to the side of vehicle access gate’.

But Helen Stewart, town clerk, said: “There was never any intention by the council to install a pedestrian gate because it would cause more trouble than it’s worth. A gate would cause problems with buggies and mobility scooters.

“There’s no requirement to have a fully gated access into the park. Dogs should be on leads and parents have a duty of care to their children.”