No plans for river safety despite death

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Life-saving rings will not be placed along the district’s rivers despite the questions raised at the inquest of a man who drowned in Leamington.

The Leam flows through Jephson Gardens and Victoria Park, while the Avon flows though St Nicholas Park in Warwick. All three parks were described by the council as its most-visited open spaces .

But after calls this week for more safety, Warwick District Council (WDC) confirmed it does not have any life-saving or flotation aids in the parks, and no plans to bring them in. A spokesperson said: “The council has no legal obligation to provide life-saving equipment alongside rivers that run through our land.

“Unfortunately, previous experience has been that equipment has been stolen, damaged or misused.”

Questions over public safety were raised this month at the inquest of Pawel Przydalski who drowned in the River Leam in 2014.

The coroner spoke of the lack of life-saving equipment at the scene and Warwickshire Police was advised to consider carrying it in patrol vehicles where there is “water-related risk”.

Linda Bromley, chair of the Friends of St Nicholas Park group, said this week that the problem needs to be addressed, especially in light of the inquest. She added : “I have raised the problem many times of the danger posed.

“I have not seen any life-saving equipment or warning signs anywhere along the riverside from Warwick to Leamington, apart from the Boathouse, and it is a worry. Come on WDC, please step up your duty of care and focus more resources on overall safety measures for our residents and visitors.”

A Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents water safety review in 2011 states: “The landowner has a duty to take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of those visiting the land.”