Families across Bracknell have raised several complaints about a new play unit which has replaced the former play area on Jocks Lane Recreation Ground.

After an incident at the park on December 1, 2023 where a large climbing frame was set on fire, the council organised the manufacture of new equipment to cater to children in the community.

The equipment, which has been described by the council as ‘suitable for children aged 1 to 9 years old’ has been met with disappointment and worry.

One resident, who visited the playpark said: “It’s definitely not anywhere near suitable for 9 year olds. Don’t know many 9 year olds who are going to find a 2 foot slide and a tunnel fun… in fact I went with my 7 year old daughter and 9 year old niece and friends and their first comment as they ran in the park was not positive!”

Bracknell Town Council has issued a statement on their social media following complaints. They said: “Bracknell Town Council understands your disappointment with the size and features of the new equipment compared to the previous unit which was set on fire.

“The new play unit is specifically designed for children aged 1 to 9 years old and is intended to be installed within an enclosed area, ensuring a safer environment for our younger visitors. The previous unit, which was designed for an older age group, had posed some risks with several incidents of younger children falling through the bars.

“Please be assured that Bracknell Town Council is committed to providing quality play facilities for all age groups. We are currently in the process of the second phase of improvements at Jocks Lane Recreation Ground, which includes exploring the installation of a more challenging play unit on the field area, catered specifically for older children.”

This second phase however has also caused concerns for parents with one calling it an ‘accident waiting to happen’.

They said: “I do appreciate more works being done but it doesn’t take away from the fact this was a bad replacement and this means that families spanning young and older age groups are supposed to split up to enjoy jocks now if the other equipment will be on the field.”

Another concerned parent added: “A worry that springs to mind with a more extensive play area in the field is children darting across the car park whilst younger siblings and parents are in the enclosed play park.”

The council continued: “Bracknell Town Council takes its responsibility for maintaining and updating play areas within its jurisdiction very seriously. We strive to ensure that our facilities not only provide enjoyment but also prioritise the safety of all users.

"We kindly ask for your patience and understanding as we work diligently to complete the second stage of these improvements. Our goal is to create a well-rounded recreation space that caters to the needs of children of all ages.

“Thank you for your cooperation and support as we continue to enhance the play facilities at Jocks Lane Recreation Ground for the benefit of our community.”