New signs warn of water danger

By connie.osborne@bullivantmedia.com Friday 04 July 2014 Updated: 07/07 12:01

WARNING signs will be installed next to three popular river spots in a bid to deter people from entering the water.

Redditch Borough Council will be putting the signs up before the school summer holidays start to try and stop people from swimming in open water.

Notices have already been placed at certain spots including the Five Tunnels, but the council want extra safety measures in place as the warmer weather begins.

The signs will be put at the weir off Broad Ground Road in Lakeside, the Paper Mill weir in Church Hill and another will be installed at the Five Tunnels.

Rescue ropes, that have bags which fill with water to act as flotation devices, will also be available at the Five Tunnels and the Paper Mill site, while grid reference locations will be marked on all the signs in case anyone has to call the emergency services.

Although a date for the work has not yet been confirmed, a council spokeswoman said they would go in before the start of the school summer holidays.

An archaeologist will also be on site while the signs are installed to make sure any of the town’s history is not disturbed.

The move comes after 15-year-old Richard Fellows drowned near the Five Tunnels in March, and two children had to be rescued from the same spot in July last year.

Sue Hanley, deputy chief executive of Redditch Borough Council and chair of the North Worcestershire Community Safety Partnership, said: “The new signs we are putting in place not only deter swimming, but explain why it is potentially fatal for people to get in the water, no matter how inviting it looks.

“So we urge everyone to adhere to these signs and ask people not to vandalise these signs or the lifesaving aids that we are installing.

“Such mindless acts not only cost the taxpayer money - they could ultimately cost lives.”

Coun Rebecca Blake, responsible for community safety on the council, said: “Some people who regularly use an area maybe for walking or jogging, will report problems. However we need more people to do this.

“Now so many people have mobiles and smart phones it has never been easier. We must be vigilant at our waterways and report any concerns to the council or the police.

“If everyone does their bit it will make open water less dangerous. We must do everything possible to avoid another tragedy.”

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