Safety Fears Over Walpole Park Pond

Concerns raised over design and depth

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New pond under construction



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Walpole Park's new pond which is currently under construction could pose a safety risk according to a concerned resident.

Arthur Breens has written to Ealing Council expressing his fears after observing the new feature being built.

He believes the pond is currently too steep and says changing the previous sloped 'drop' to the new vertical one is dangerous.

He says: '' In the new pond the water depth is designed to be 770mm and the distance from the bottom to the edge is 1100mm. So the water would cover the mouth and nose of a two year old and the total height to the edge would make it difficult for an adult to get out quickly to complete a rescue. It takes between 20 secs and 60 secs to drown.''

He has written to the council and been told that the design team has 'satisfied their obligations to identify and mitigate risks'.

But Mr Breens has not been reassured and suggests they add a 'rock roll' (a sausage of rocks in a net skin) round the whole edge of the pond. He says if a child fell in they would land on this and wouldn't be fully submerged and it would be easier to get out. 

David Walker, leisure safety manager at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, said:

''It is important to recognise the benefits of open water spaces along with the risks. Open water does present a constant drowning risk, however, with smaller pieces of water, such as ponds, this tends to be lower. Children under six and elderly adults are the key at risk groups around these types of waters.

“Site managers have a duty to assess the risks to visitors, and to take reasonable steps to limit injuries. Flat-level footpaths, good ambient lighting, coping stones among other features are useful measures at ponds with straight edges.''

A council spokesperson said: “Along with a number of other safety features, the remodelled pond in Walpole Park will feature a single rock roll around the entire edge of the pond.  Two areas of the pond – one to the north and one to the south – will feature larger areas of rock rolls with plants, which will improve water quality and biodiversity.

“The safety of the pond was a key factor in its design and we have carried out detailed risk assessments to address possible risk.  However, as with any body of water, people should take care, particularly those with small children.”

Work on Walpole Park is expected to be finished by the end of summer 2014.




9th June 2014 (updated)