PARENTS in Iron Acton who turned out in force on Tuesday night in support of bringing an old fishing boat to the village are celebrating a win over health and safety ‘bureaucracy’.

Young children desperate for the three-metre high boat Gloria Jean, which formed part of artist Luke Jerram’s exhibition in Leigh Woods this summer, to be brought to a play park in the parish meadows joined their mums and dads at an extraordinary meeting of Iron Acton Parish Council, called because councillors had overturned their previous approval of the scheme on safety grounds.

Cllr Lyn Noble said: “Would I put my granddaughter on there? No I would not.

“We need to look after children.”

Cllr Bob Sheppard said: “I don’t think it is safe. My main concern is about the height of it and falling off.”

District councillor Cllr Marian Lewis (Con, Ladden Brook) said she thought the boat would be similar to one at Bowood House which youngsters could play pirate and shark games on.

“Sadly this old fishing boat isn’t anything like that,” she said. “It would be very complex to make it a good adventure boat.”

But parents said all children needed was their imaginations.

Angie Hill, who has three children aged 10, 12 and 13, said: “There is something to be said for positive risk taking among children.

“Otherwise we are going to bring up a generation of children who cannot look after themselves in the real world.

“They don’t need slides and ropes, they will bring their imaginations and that is the most powerful thing.”

Rachel Weldrake said her five-year-old son Theo Foote already thought the boat was his after visiting the Forestry Commission and National Trust commissioned exhibition.

“We thought it was all approved so we took him to see it,” she said. “He is adamant it is coming here.

“It is good enough for the National Trust and Forestry Commission and would be a great asset for our children.”

David Hatherell, who has four children, said the hypocrisy of the council was ‘laughable’.

He said: “The climbing frame in the play park is pretty much rotten and you are quite happy for children to climb on that.”

Resident Tony Harris told the meeting no parent wanted to put their children in danger but the young people of the village deserved new facilities.

“The play park is a shambles,” he said. “It has not been looked after.

“You could be forgiven for thinking is there a motivation for not wanting children to go down and play and have fun.”

A petition signed by more than 150 villagers was presented in support of the boat and after nearly two hours of debate, councillors agreed to its immediate relocation to the play area, which local charitable group Acton Aid has agreed to fund.

A safety report will be carried out once it is sunk into the ground by half a metre.

Campaigner Richard Hunter said: “We are thrilled.”