Town council’s ‘bouncy castle ban’ criticised by business owner

Huntingdon Town Hall

Huntingdon Town Hall - Credit: Archant

The owner of an inflatables company has criticised Huntingdon Town Council’s decision to ban bouncy castles from its land until an investigation into the death of seven-year-old girl is complete.

Mark Wimbleton, who owns Kool Bouncers, in St Neots, has said that he and other inflatables companies will be affected by the ban after the authority’s decision, made at a meeting on Wednesday (April 20).

Mr Wimbleton told The Hunts Post: “It felt like the councillors had already made up their minds before the council meeting on Thursday.

“After working with the council in previous years on a number of events there has never been an issue so this ban is completely unnecessary.

“I don’t see their rational in putting through the temporary ban but I know that it will certainly have an affect on people within the trade as they won’t be able to work on land owned by the town council this summer and the people that enjoy using the inflatables.”

At the meeting, town clerk Philip Peacock said that the temporary ban would be on all inflatables both indoors and out.

The recommendation was put forward to full council after officers and members of the leisure and community services committee on March 31 were advised by the authority’s insurance company that the council would be 41 per cent liable if an incident happened.

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During the vote on Thursday members agreed to instate the temporary ban with only Councillor Patrick Kadewere abstaining.

Following the meeting Cllr Kadewere said: “The council are rushing into a decision without taking into consideration at the activities that the community does. It will have a massive impact to the community and especially the children who play on them during the events.”

It is expected that the Health and Safety Executive investigation into the death of Summer Grant will be completed in the autumn and new council policy will be created for use of inflatables.

Summer died after suffering serious injuries when the bouncy castle she was playing on was blown 500ft in strong winds at Harlow Town Park, in Essex, on March 26.

A 24-year-old woman and a 27-year-old man, both from Cambridgeshire, were arrested, in connection with Summer’s death, on suspicion of manslaughter by gross negligence and have been bailed pending further enquiries until May 4.