Neighbours have been ordered to remove a paddling pool in their communal garden as they were allegedly told burglars may drown in it.
Maria Young and her friends who live in the same block of flats clubbed together and bought the 12-foot pool and cover for £64 during the recent heatwave. But officials reportedly told them it either must go, or have to be emptied every night.
The company MHS Homes, which manages the properties in Strood, Kent, said the paddling pool is not safe. Mrs Young, 47, said: ‘They said if someone breaks in they might drown in the pool.
‘I don’t understand. People in other places are allowed them in their community gardens. ‘A team of them came and said initially we’d have to get rid of it. They then changed their mind and said we had to put it down each night for health and safety issues.’ The pool holds 15,000 gallons of water and takes three hours to refill. Mrs Young, who says relaxing in the pool helps aid her spine disease, added: ‘We sit out the back together and socialise. It’s completely enclosed.
‘They said we could take it down and empty it each night but there’s a water shortage on the way. It’s a waste. ‘It’s fun for the kids. It’s better being out in the fresh air than stuck indoors. ‘There’s no way I’m taking it down. They’ll have to carry me out laying in it.’
The problem arose when a security gate to the shared garden broke, which meant people from outside could easily get inside the back area of the flats. Colette McKenney, housing manager of MHS Homes, said the firm had to ‘be sure that everyone who has access to that land is safe’.
She said: ‘While it’s really lovely to see people coming together as a community, we have to be sure that everyone who has access to that land is safe. ‘This summer we’re having extreme weather and it’s very hot. But the pool is on land owned by us and we’re responsible for everyone’s safety.
‘We’re telling residents that the pool needs to be taken down and we’ll be speaking to them about how they can safely enjoy a paddling pool in a communal area. ‘Pools in private gardens and small children’s paddling pools in communal gardens are fine so long as children are always accompanied and it’s emptied when not being used.
‘We don’t want to spoil anyone’s fun, which is why we’re going to talk to our residents about trying to make this safe. ‘We’ve been on site to address the concerns about the gates. All gates leading onto the street are locked and secure. ‘The locks for the gates which sit between the communal areas will be replaced.’