Fight to honour Jordan’s memory
THE parents of tragic youngster Jordan Toward have pledged to fight the council on plans to alter a patch of land built in memory of their son.
Julie and Martin Toward say they were disgusted to discover Newcastle City Council had started proceedings to change the play park, set up as a tribute to Jordan, without letting them know.
The 10-year-old was killed when he fell through a skylight on the roof of the Geoffrey Rhodes Centre in 2004.
His parents launched a campaign to get better play facilities for children with the support of the Chronicle.
And last year Newcastle City Council fenced off part of a large field next to Algernon Road, near their home in Elvet Close, Byker, and erected mini-goalposts for a play area.
But his parents were left furious when the posts were cut down to discourage older children from playing there.
Officers launched a consultation exercise with residents on the future of the small play park in May and the Towards said they believed they would be informed of any developments.
But on Friday, Julie discovered council officials were measuring the park for alterations and she had not been told.
She believes the measurements will be used to make the play area smaller so dog walkers have more room.
She said: “I was on my way out the door when I saw men on the field wearing suits. When I asked what they were doing I was told they were taking measurements for changes going to be made.
“I couldn’t believe it. I feel the council has gone over our heads.
“We were told if we were not happy with any of the plans a compromise would be reached, but we weren’t told of these plans.”
Following Jordan’s death the family raised a memorial fund of more than £6,800. They have so far been unable to spend it.
They said the council would not let them invest in the play area as it would give them a degree of control.
Plans for a memorial bench and a plaque bearing Jordan’s name were also turned down.
A Newcastle City Council spokesman said: “We are very sorry that Mrs Toward does not feel appropriately consulted on what we know must be a very sensitive and emotional issue.
“We have endeavoured to keep Jordan’s family informed at all times and will continue to seek their opinions on what we are doing to provide a safe and appropriate play area that will prove enjoyable to local children and commemorate Jordan’s life.