PEOPLE power has scored a victory after housing chiefs did a U-turn over a ban on ball games on a South Tyneside estate.
A sign notifying youngsters of the blanket ban was put up at the Riverside Village estate in Hebburn on Tuesday.
Residents complained that they weren’t consulted about the move by builder Persimmon Homes, voicing fears that it could put young lives in danger as children would be forced to play out on a busy road instead.
Parents Kathryn and Kier Wells, whose eight-year-old son Noah regularly played football with pals on land near a showhome on the estate, were among those calling for an explanation.
Now, Persimmon Homes says it will remove the no-ball games sign, erected in response to recent vandalism.
Dad Kier, 32, said: “There are about 15 to 20 children, all under 10, who play there. The parents can all monitor them from their houses.
“They are not banging a ball against neighbours’ fences or walls, and they don’t play out when it is dark.
“Now, instead of playing outside like they should be able to, they feel intimidated and are in the house playing the Xbox.
“There have been some complaints from adults about the children playing out, but many more people want the children to be able to play there.
“It is very frustrating. We haven’t been told why this has been done.
“My wife has sent e-mails to Persimmon asking for an explanation, but we haven’t had a reply.”
Kathryn, 30, added: “Persimmon put up a no-ball-games sign at one of the only areas that is safe for the children of the estate to play.
“I have three young boys, and my eight-year-old plays football with his friends near the showhome.
“Now that this is banned, he only has the option of playing on the road – a road which several residents have raised concerns about the speed at which both private and site vehicles travel along.
“The children are also moved constantly by other residents.
“I moved to the estate because there were lots of children, and at no point was I advised that the children were not allowed to play football in the street.
“Persimmon did this without any consultation with the residents and without responding to two e-mails I have sent them.
“Surely, we should be encouraging children to play out and get them away from TV and computers, but this is not the case at Riverside Village.
“The boys are hounded away from anywhere they try to play and face constant intimidation from adults moving them on.
“They are young boys who are not old enough to leave the estate to play, nor should they have to.
“This estate is marketed as family homes for families, yet no one seems keen on seeing the families.”
John Eynon, deputy managing director for the York-based housing firm’s North-East office in Newcastle, said: “Following recent vandalism on site to sales signs and trees, we erected a no-ball-games sign on land near our showhome.
“However, in light of the comments made, we will remove this sign and closely monitor the situation.
“This area is not a public open space and is covered in grass to be in keeping with the local surroundings prior to our commencement of building new residential dwellings on the land.”