INCREASED traffic to a country park after after the installation of a children's play area is putting lives at risk, according to worried residents.

Last July, Essex County Council put in coastal themed play equipment at Cudmore Grove in East Mersea with bosses saying the investment would make visits to the area even more enjoyable for families.

But now serious concerns have been raised about how emergency services would reach the area should there be an incident because of how busy single track access road Broman's Lane has now become.

Peter Inson, who lives in nearby East Road, said he was worried about potential fires and even the impact increased traffic would have on the adders the park is renowned for.

He said: "There are virtually no children in East Mersea.

"Children have to be ferried here in cars and this has caused chaos in the access road, a tiny rural lane. "Residents there have been unable to get out at weekends and holiday times and fear the consequences of any emergency.

"There was no consultation at all with local residents.

"Will the county councillors who sanctioned this encouragement of children to the site be held responsible should a child come to grief?

"How quickly might parents get a child, injured in any way at the site, off to hospital while Broman’s Lane is blocked?

"Now we have seen widespread fires on moorlands in the north of the country which has far more rain than Mersea and Cudmore Grove where you can see the scorch marks of barbecues on the ground.

"Does anyone want to see fire crews struggling to get past enormous queues of jammed traffic if one spark catches alight all the dried grass and vegetation which covers the park?

"Won’t there be questions asked of those who sanctioned all this?

"The play area is miles away from children who could make very good use of it, on week days, after school, and not solely when there is a parent to drive them here, and without the risks posed by snakes and brushwood fires.

"We are not nimbys in East Mersea.

"We are privileged to live in an area of outstanding natural beauty which we enjoy sharing with visitors.

"However, we do have a responsibility to protect this area from those who would destroy it, not only for our own sakes, but for the sakes of those visitors who also enjoy and appreciate East Mersea."