Signs to be put up at river death spot

By Connie Osborne Tuesday 18 March 2014 Updated: 19/03 09:42

TEMPORARY signs will be installed next to a river where a Brockhill teenager drowned while further safety measures are considered.

Redditch Borough Council will be putting the signs up before this weekend in a bid to stop people from going into the River Arrow where 15-year-old Richard Fellows died on Sunday (March 16).

Following the tragedy an urgent meeting was called by Coun Rebecca Blake, responsible for community safety on the council, to fully understand what happened at the spot near the Five Tunnels.

She said the council was working with a number of organisations to provide permanent measures along the town's water courses but the signs would act as an immediate deterrent.

"Yesterday I was updated of the facts surrounding the tragic incident. The main point for me is what more can be done to reduce the risk of people entering open water," she said.

"This tragedy happened at the site of a weir, which are very dangerous stretches of water with strong undercurrents."

Coun Blake added she wanted to see better education programmes which alerted young people to the dangers of swimming in open water and the council would play a full part in making sure that happened.

"I will be meeting with council officers again today to progress my concerns and continue to work with the emergency services," she said.

"We must do everything possible to try and ensure this tragedy is not repeated.

The Standard reported in July last year how a six-year-old girl and her 11-year-old brother had to be rescued from the same spot after also getting into difficulty in the water.

Following the incident calls were made to the council to put safety measures in place in the area and an urgent report was undertaken by the authority.

The river was patrolled by officers from Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service over the summer in a bid to save lives by dissuading people from swimming in the open water.

Branches were also cut back which may have been used for rope swings and a temporary sign was put up alerting people of the hazard by Redditch Borough Council.

Sue Hanley, chair of the north Worcestershire community Safety Partnership, added: "We all share the immediate concerns of the community.

"We understand the emergency services will carry out increased educational programmes and we intend to play our part in that because we want to promote a better understanding of the hazard and serious risks involved in swimming in open water."

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