High ropes course could be re-opened before safety probe is completed

PUBLISHED: 17:19 29 July 2013 | UPDATED: 17:19 29 July 2013

The closed high ropes course

The closed high ropes course


WELWYN Garden City’s £500,000 tax-payer funded High Ropes course could be re-opened while a serious accident is still being investigated.

"How can any parents want to send their children on it after what happened to the lady?"

Councillor Kieran Thorpe

As of today (Friday) it has been 38 days since a woman fell from the 40ft tall Stanborough Park complex, forcing its closure.

Welwyn Hatfield Council paid for the site’s development and this week revealed the probe, overseen by its Environmental Health team, could last months.

But contractors Finesse Leisure, which runs the complex, could re-open the Closer to the Edge course before the probe is finished – as it was they who shut the complex.

“It hasn’t been closed, Finesse took the decision to close it,” a borough spokeswoman said.

“That means as they have taken the decision to close it, they can re-open it, [but] if we feel there is a risk to health and safety we can then close it.”

Finesse Leisure declined to comment on its plans.

Opposition leader at the borough council, Kieran Thorpe, said he did not think the facility should re-open before the investigation had finished.

And he claimed “public confidence has taken a big knock” by the fall.

The Labour politician said: “If it takes months to investigate it, the facility should remain closed for several months.

“Safety is more important than money. It is a bit of a shambles.”

He added: “I think it makes more sense to publish the investigation’s findings before they can re-open.

“How can any parents want to send their children on it after what happened to the lady?”

All that is known of the accident is a woman in her 40s plummeted from what is believed to be a zip line leaving her with serious pelvic injuries.

In a statement Welwyn Hatfield Council said it, “understand[s] the lady is recovering”.

The course was three days away from opening to the public, when she fell on Wednesday, June 19, during a private viewing event.

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