Fury as council puts up barrier to stop children playing in 'goal' which has been there for 35 years

Parents are furious after a council built a barrier to prevent children playing football with a makeshift goal painted onto a wall - that had been there for 35 years.

The diagonal rail was put up alongside the corner of a children's park which crosses the outline of the goalposts - making it virtually impossible to use.

The park is regularly used by children for games, who were accused of 'annoying' some residents through noise and occasional balls flying into gardens.

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But the move has been met with anger by locals who said the outline had been used for 35 years since it was painted by Brian Reeby.

The barrier in front of the goalposts, which were painted there 35 years ago

He said problems started when a minority of neighbours living nearby started to complain and at one point things got so heated that police had to be called to the scene in Cullompton, Devon.

And in a joint response between Mid Devon District Council and Cullompton Town Council, the authorities said it had a "duty of care" to act.

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A spokesperson said: “Headweir Road play area is land owned by MDDC and run as a play area by Cullompton Town Council.

“While we appreciate that the gesture to repaint a goal on the garage wall facing into the play area has been carried out in good faith, this area has been marked as a no-ball games area and has been for some time following previous concerns.

“Both councils have a duty to ensure that activities taking place in a play area do not cause a nuisance to residents of nearby properties and to ensure no damage is done to premises or neighbouring properties.

“The town and district councils are keen to work together with residents to ensure both children, who wish to play ball games, and other residents have their views taken into account and have facilities nearby which they can freely use.

“There is a park around 500m away from Headweir Road accessed via Fairfax Drive, and an additional one around 1km away and which is more suitable for football games at Upcott Fields St Andrews Estate.

“The town council has started planting shrubs in Headweir Road, so this area can become a site for wildlife and habitat creation.

“Both councils have to balance the needs of everyone in the community, and we understand this can cause upset on occasions and that sometimes disputes do occur.”