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  • Lawrence Bailey

Building sites make bad playgrounds

As school summer holidays approach, there’s a couple of things we need to remember. First, kids apparently spend more time indoors than they did ten years ago. The other is that they still find building sites as irresistible as ever.

Sadly, official figures include dozens of safety incidents a year with children suffering a range of injuries, some of them very serious. It’s thought about half as many again go unreported because of potential trespass or damage claims.

Better standards in safety measures introduced by the industry over the years, such as mesh fencing, have made sites a lot less accessible. Even so, it’s important that all ages get the message that building sites make for bad playgrounds.

A leading voice in this campaign is the Considerate Constructors Scheme, a non-profit making, independent organisation founded in 1997 by the construction industry.

I was fortunate to be able to join Ben Francis of Hygrove Homes and his sidekick ‘Honor Goodsite’ in a special visit to Penclawdd primary school. The firm is currently building 12 affordable homes on behalf of Family Housing Association at a nearby site.

The pair got a great reception and the pupils were quick to spot all the potential dangers. Many thanks to the headteacher and staff for helping to keep communities safer places - and to the pupils for the great welcome.

You can find out more about the Considerate Constructors Scheme yourself by visiting


Freedom of speech: ignorance is no defence

Social media is blamed for a lot of things, possibly unfairly at times. It’s nonetheless given a voice to anyone who has an opinion.

Most of us are understandably fuzzy about the rules that underpin freedom of speech. Even so, ignorance is no defence.

The ability to make public comment is a foundation of democratic principle dating back to the 18th century. The same can be said of course about fake news, if only because the so-called ‘free press’ is mainly in private hands.

Lines got further blurred with the advent of provocative ‘citizen journalists’ and an dubious insistence from social media providers that their role is solely that of platform - and not publisher.

However, things got clearer last week for those who would deliberately confuse accountability with confrontation. In short, waving a mobile phone around in a court building and potentially jeopardising the justice process will get you nicked. Tweet that.

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