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BREAKING: Highland Council U-turn on bouncy castle ban after councillors intervene

By Scott Maclennan

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One of Mascot Madness Entertainment's bouncy castles
One of Mascot Madness Entertainment's bouncy castles

Highland Council has performed a sharp U-turn on its ban of bouncy castles at its own as well as High Life Highland sites across the north after an outpouring of criticism.

The nanny-state move looked set to put a number of operators out of business overnight as they lost bookings due to being banned from using playing fields and other council property.

But elected councillors intervened with officials who took the decision and were able to get the ban reversed – just six days after we story broke the story in the Courier.

Councillor Angus MacDonald welcomed the U-turn.
Councillor Angus MacDonald welcomed the U-turn.

One of them, Councillor Angus MacDonald, who is also standing as the LibDem candidate for the Ross, Skye and Lochaber seat at Westminster next year welcomed the change of heart by the local authority.

“A number of elected councillors raised this with the council officers and as a result it was decided to reverse the ban,” he said. “This is good news and will be widely welcomed by everyone, especially children.”

Another member who lobbied the council to change tack, Isabelle Mackenzie said had the there not be a review then many school events over the summer would have been affected.

"Delighted Highland Council have reviewed the earlier decision," she wrote on Twitter. "A number of school events this summer would have been a bit deflated.

"Having spent many years involved with parent council events, much needed funds are raised for schools. Bouncy castles are a huge treat for kids."

'Inflatable lets bookings'

After further discussions, the council later released a statement on what it called “the health and safety requirements of inflatable lets bookings at its properties,” arguing the changes had been about safety.

In short, the council confirmed that instead of a ban there will be “new conditions of let requirements” that are for “the safe use of inflatable devices on council and High Life Highland premises.”

The statement attempted to defend the council’s actions as seeking to “balance the mitigation of risk with acting in a way that does not impact unnecessarily on community activities” which would effectively cease due to a ban.

That has now been overturned but leaves several unanswered questions such as why there was little to no public consultation and no warning to those businesses and users about the changes.

There is also the question as to why the decision was taken by officials behind closed doors without the knowledge of many elected members.

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