News blackout over high ropes fall is 'dangerous' claim

PUBLISHED: 09:45 03 July 2013 | UPDATED: 09:46 03 July 2013

High ropes course

High ropes course

Archant

POLITICIANS have hit out at the news "blackout" after a serious fall that led to the closure of Welwyn Garden City's high ropes course.

Tony SkottoweTony Skottowe

Since the accident two weeks ago, Welwyn Hatfield Council has refused to answer questions about the Closer to the Edge Course, in Stanborough Park.

All that has been revealed is a woman in her 40s fell from the ropes and was left with “serious pelvic injuries” at a pre-opening event.

It is not known when the activity complex, which the council ploughed £500,000 into, will re-open.

On Monday councillors had the chance to quiz Finesse Leisure – which operates the site – about the accident at a scrutiny committee meeting, but snubbed the opportunity.

"The complete blackout is in our view dangerous as it leads to speculation, uncertainty and growing concern that something is being hidden from the public. "

Lib Dem group leader Tony Skottowe

After the meeting, chairman Fiona Thomson told the WHT it would be “inappropriate” to discuss the high ropes accident during an investigation.

Lib Dem group leader Tony Skottowe said: “The complete blackout is in our view dangerous as it leads to speculation, uncertainty and growing concern that something is being hidden from the public.

“Two weeks on, we would expect to have clear information made public.”

When quizzed, the council would not say how long the probe would take.

Councillor Skottowe’s concerns were echoed by Labour group leader Kieran Thorpe.

He told the WHT: “This is a facility that has been closed and there has been very little comment about it, obviously they need to carry out their investigation and it is not going to be immediate – but more should be done to reassure people.”

Both Finesse and the council is probing the fall, but when quizzed the council would not provide an expected finish date.

A borough spokeswoman said: “The council - the statutory health and safety enforcing authority for leisure activities within the borough - is currently carrying out an investigation.

“Finesse Leisure, who manage and operate the site, is also investigating how the incident occurred.

“At this present time we are unable to speculate on when these will be concluded.”

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