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Outdoor equipment

Licensee's plea for respect after play area vandalised

By Nikkie Sutton , 13-Sep-2016
Last updated on 13-Sep-2016 at 14:00 GMT2016-09-13T14:00:55Z

Vandalism: the Harrow Inn no longer has a play area
Vandalism: the Harrow Inn no longer has a play area

A licensee of a pub in Kent is urging customers to have more respect after he was forced to take down his play area because it was being constantly damaged.

After spending £15,000 installing the play area, the cost of maintaining it and keeping it up to the health and safety regulations required adds extra thousands of pounds onto the Harrow Inn’s annual bills and now the former play area is now part of the site’s car park.

Licensee of the pub in Lidsing, near Gillingham, and Enterprise Inns tenant Kris Orme told The Morning Advertiser: “We have a fantastic pub and spend a fortune trying to keep it pristine but how would you feel if you saw kids wrecking the place and all you get is abuse hurled at you?

“It is a family business as both myself and my wife work here along with my mother and father but people have no respect whatsoever any more.”

Social media

The pub posted on its Facebook page: “Just a reminder to all our customers: we no longer have a kids' play area. The decision was made to take down the play area after unsupervised children and idiotic teenagers and adults abused and vandalised it.

“Now I have seen and heard some customers moan. These are the customers that we might see once or twice a year when the sun is shining and the don’t see for another year – great supporters of one of the few independent pubs left in the area!

“We invested in that new play area five years ago at a cost of over £15,000. Every year for the past five years, we have re-laid 10 tonnes of new play bark. Every year the play area went through repairs and rigorous health and safety checks.

“We put up clear signage that all children were to be supervised and that the play area was for the use of under-13s. We also had signage put up saying no glasses or smoking allowed.”

The post also listed some of the damage caused such as broken glass in the play area, cigarette burns on the synthetic grass, parts of wood ripped off the frame, swings broken “due to adults using them” along with children and adults throwing rubbish, including bottles and glasses over fences and into private living areas.

It also mentioned that parents had brought their children to the pub along with their own drinks and food.

Customers added their support for the pub to the Facebook post. One said: “Some people nowadays just do not know how to behave. Social etiquette is a mystery to them. Sorry to hear you had to take your play area down, always the few who spoil it for everyone else.”

Future plans

Orme added that he has thought about installing other play equipment in the future but because it is so expensive, he is holding off doing anything.

“I have been in the trade for more than 25 years and have given my life and soul to hospitality. We have some wonderful customers with families and have had some lovely messages of support but there is no respect.”

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