PUPILS at a Blackburn primary school can finally have fun in their playground -- after waiting 19 months for it to be declared safe.

Playground equipment was installed at Cedars County Infant School last spring, but a report by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) highlighted problems, and a further report in November last year said the climbing tower, scramble nets and slides were "poorly constructed and installed".

The school, in Hawthorn Street, was considering legal action against building contractors Sovereign, based in Southend, demanding they carry out work to make the equipment safer.

But after engineers were sent to the school in December 2003, April 2004, and again this July, to work on loose bolts and a "wobbly" tower, the £15,000 playground is now open.

The 200 pupils can now enjoy the facilities, not just in play time but in structured activity sessions. Headteacher Liz Beaumont said: "We are relieved the equipment is now open and we are happy it has been made safe. We would never have taken any risk.

"There is now a structured timetable for all the children to use it in hour slots, as we are very committed to the healthy schools initiative and giving them all a chance to get outdoors and play. All the children are delighted."

The playground plans were initiated in 2001 and, after getting the governors' go-ahead, the hilly school site was levelled and re-surfaced at a cost of £7,000.

In spring last year the equipment was installed, but the RoSPA report highlighted low-risk problems after the £8,000 was settled by the school. All schools require independent inspection on new equipment for insurance purposes.

Staff from Sovereign were sent in July to change nails to screws, re-build the tower and slide, and replace the roof of the play house.

Liz added: "It has been an on-going battle, but we are delighted it is all over."

RoSPA will re-visit the site in January.