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Barriers are to prevent river tragedy

Anglian Water has now painted these barriers green to blend in but there are still objections. (2286263)
Anglian Water has now painted these barriers green to blend in but there are still objections. (2286263)

Anglian Water has answered critics who want to see the removal of unsightly safety barriers on the Welland in Spalding.

Cage-style, metal spiked barriers have gone up at both ends of a utility pipe bridge across the river, between Haverfield Road and Ayscoughfee Hall.

Anglian Water says the step was prompted by the death of a young boy in the north of England and the aim is to prevent a similar accident in Spalding.

Coun Jack Mclean, co-founder of Spalding Riverside Forum, said: "That's obviously tragic. It's absolutely a valid reason to consider options, but doesnâ t mean any option will do.

"This is not an appropriate response. Assess the risk or assess the impact of the deterrent. This is in the conservative area, and in the vicinity of listed buildings.

He's happier now the structures looking like "medieval seige weapons" are painted green but wants to see something more sympathetic to the surroundings.

An Anglian Water spokesman said: "A couple of years ago a young boy in the North of England tragically died after playing and falling from a utility pipe across a bridge, just like this one in Spalding.

"The landmark legal case which followed showed it is not acceptable to leave pipe-bridges unprotected in busy or high footfall areas.

"We aren't prepared to let such a tragic, avoidable accident happen in our region and we have a duty to ensure we are operating safely and responsibly and not falling foul of health and safety law or legal precedent. We are therefore in the process of installing safety measures on all the water and drainage pipes that feature in built-up areas or prominent locations across our region."

The spokesman said it is "right and responsible to safeguard members of the public, especially younger people who are more likely to take unknown risks when playing and exploring".

* Tesco has awarded £2,000 to the Welland Rivers Trust and Coun McLean says it will pay for litter picking stations along the Spalding riverside. Initially the idea is to man them on Sundays if the forum can find enough volunteers. Passers-by will get litter-pick sticks and bags so they can make the riverside tidier on their walks.


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