Stevenage play area padlocked up after ‘mindless vandalism’

The small play area in St Nicholas Park, Stevenage, is expected to remain closed for another month a

The small play area in St Nicholas Park, Stevenage, is expected to remain closed for another month after being repeatedly vandalised - Credit: Archant

A play area which has been repeatedly targeted by “mindless” vandals is expected to remain shut for at least another month.

Damage to the surface of the play area

Damage to the surface of the play area - Credit: Archant

Facilities at St Nicholas Park in Stevenage have been locked up due to extensive damage to the surface of the smaller play area.

A spokesman for Stevenage Borough Council, which owns the park situated off Pilgrims Way, said the play area closed just over a month ago and revealed on Tuesday it would remain shut “for the next four to five weeks” while repair work is carried out.

Louise Caslake, whose home looks out on to the park, claims the gates of the play area were padlocked before the start of the summer holidays and that she hasn’t been able to take her six-year-old son there since for fear of injury.

“It’s always getting vandalised but it’s been locked for at least three months,” she said.

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“The bin there has also been thrown around God knows how many times and I think one of the swings has gone as well.

“I don’t want my son falling over and hurting himself so we don’t go there but there are some parents who lift their children over the fence to use it. It was nice to have the option to go to the small park and it’s hard explaining to a six-year-old why he can’t play there.”

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John Chilcott, who also lives nearby, said: “It’s a shame for the young kids as I often seen them playing over there with their mums. To have to lock it up is a waste of taxpayers money.”

Councillor Richard Henry, executive member for safer and stronger communities at Stevenage Borough Council, said: “Not only does this pose a health and safety risk to those using the play area, but it is also a financial burden on the council. We have 60 play areas within Stevenage, and a limited budget to refurbish and refresh these. It’s not helped when vital funds are being spent to repair damage caused by mindless vandalism. We’re working to have the play area open as soon as it’s safe for our residents to use.”

A second larger play area near to the play centre remains open.

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