Popular Johannesburg venue bans 'problem' children

2016-01-15 08:43
The gardens at Blandford Manor (Blandford Manor website)

The gardens at Blandford Manor (Blandford Manor website)

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Johannesburg – Blandford Manor in Randburg, Johannesburg has banned all children under the age of 15 from its premises.

Blandford Manor made the announcement in a 2 000-word letter on its website, saying badly behaved children not only damaged the property but also terrorised, and in some cases, killed some of the animals on the premises.

It implemented the new rule on January 12.

Blandford Manor is home to a restaurant and a spa and also hosts private events like conferences and weddings. There are also animals such as ducklings, turtles, rabbits and cats on the premises.

The owner, Peter Chaldecott, said they had initially assumed the premises would be a place for families and children to experience nature. However, that had not been the case.

“Regrettably we found that it only takes one family with badly behaved children to be destructive and destroy the peace and tranquillity of the venue, and we have had more than our fair share of such families.”

Chaldecott said he gradually started losing more of his regular clients while the number of guests with "problem" children increased. This, however, was not financially viable as parents of children inevitably moved on to other venues where there were more children's activities, he said.

'Go play'

Chaldecott said while some guests did not mind the presence of children, many others did.

There were two main reasons for the decision: risk and the interference with the enjoyment of other guests.

“The starting point is where parents arrive with their children, sit down and tell their children to ‘go play’ (so that they can enjoy the peace and quiet). The children do what they have been told, and soon we find them wandering all over the property, signage means nothing, nor does safety, and this places us, as owners, in a very difficult position,” he said.

The rule applied to the entire premises as children peeped at guests using the spa, Chaldecott said.

The letter stated that parents were often also unreasonable.

“Regardless of what their children do, it is apparently completely unreasonable for us to ask children not to do it. We even got shouted at for moving a small child from under a delivery truck.

“Not only do parents shout at us, but they also get into fights with one another because one child has done something to another child."


(Blandford Manor)

Mixed reaction

It further stated that some parents spent all day at the venue without once wondering where their children were.

“At least now we know why parents have children drown in their home pools (of course they will argue that the children were only out of their sight for a ‘few seconds’)...

"We get the groups of ladies who visit regularly with their children, often three or four moms with six or seven children. They stay here for hours (we have had them stay for more than eight hours) while their children run all over the property having a wonderful time screaming and shouting. Their bill for the time normally works out at something like R25 each and often nothing for the children.

"They achieve this by having continuous free refills of glasses or jugs of water with ice and lemon. This does not even cover our costs. When we tried asking them to pay for water they scream and swear at us.”

According to Chaldecott the new rule had been received with mixed reaction. “Some people have supported the cause while others have not received the news well at all,” he said.

One guest told News24 they were "appalled at the sarcastic tone and highly offensive way in which this venue has now banned children from their restaurant”.

Chaldecott, however,  said the tone of the letter was not meant to be sarcastic, but simply a reflection of how he felt about the matter.

Read more on:    johannesburg

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