Smokers in park play areas is hot topic for council

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A call has been made for Morpeth’s Carlisle Park to have its own attendant to try to reduce the number of people smoking in areas for children.

Earlier this summer, the town council erected new signage in all of its play facilities to request that people do not smoke in these places.

But staff have often had to go down to the playground and paddling pool in Carlisle Park since to ask those with lit cigarettes if they could put them out.

Dogs have also been an issue and a few weeks ago, the pool had to be closed for the rest of the day to get sanitised following an incident of dog fouling.

Clerk Gillian Turner said at a meeting of the council’s property and asset management committee: “Even though the signs are up, I’ve had calls just about every day in the summer holidays from concerned people at the paddling pool and park play area.

“We can get dogs moved away from the pool, but there is only so much we can do with the smoking and some of those who have ignored the signs have also carried on doing it after I’ve spoken to them. It’s a shame for the children.”

Coun David Clark said he has also received calls about people smoking in these facilities.

He then said: “The behaviour of some adults who puff away in areas full of children just beggars belief.

“If one of our workers could go and monitor these places a few times a day as part of their duties and make their presence felt, it could have a positive effect.”

He added that he recently got a call about two men who had camped for four days in a little hollow in the park and when he spoke to them just before they left, they were planning to stay for longer but their tent was stolen.