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Battle to reclaim park

PUBLISHED: 17:46 15 May 2008 | UPDATED: 11:04 03 July 2010

DAMAGED: The work of vandals in St George's Park

DAMAGED: The work of vandals in St George's Park

Laura Bagshaw

RESIDENTS across the borough are being urged to join together in a battle to reclaim a local park.

The borough council wants to see the recently revamped St George's Park bursting with groups of friends and families enjoying entertainment and the new nautical themed playground.

RESIDENTS across the borough are being urged to join together in a battle to reclaim a local park.

The borough council wants to see the recently revamped St George's Park bursting with groups of friends and families enjoying entertainment and the new nautical themed playground.

The park opened last month on St George's Day following a £2.5m revamp which saw the park opened up and new seating, lighting and CCTV installed.

However, the new play area has already been blighted by vandals who have ripped part of the sponge mat in several places.

Barry Coleman, leader of the borough council, said it wanted the park to become a focal point that the whole community could enjoy.

He said: “By creating a performance area, the general openness, better lighting and CCTV, we want to reclaim the park for people who live nearby and for the wider community, including holidaymakers. We are really keen for people to make use of the park for events and community activities.

“We know that most people will respect and appreciate the fact that we have again invested in quality. It's already got the St George sculpture, and it will have imposing gates. The park's superb playground is already very popular, and the more people who enjoy being in the park for the right reasons, the less it will appeal to the small anti-social element.”

The sponge mat which covers the ground at the play area is decorated with fishes but sections have already been ripped up by yobs, less than a month after the park was officially opened by dozens of pupils from nearby St George's First School.

The borough council's environment services manager Simon Mutten had not been aware of the damage and thanked the Mercury for brining it to his attention.

He said that GYB Services had been asked to assess the damage to see what could be done to repair it.

Mr Coleman added more would have to be done to rid the park of its reputation as a haunt for drunks in the evenings.

He said it could still cause a problem and that the council was working with police to come up with longer-term solutions.

The park revamp has also seen a series of changes to the surrounding traffic system which is due to be completed later this month before a grand opening on Friday next week.

Residents are being invited to take a look at the new park on that day when council staff will hand out suggestion forms and explain how events can be booked in the park.

The programme for Friday, May 23 includes: 10am to 11am - guests gather in park and music by Ormesby Middle School; 11am speeches; 11.15am blessing of the memorial area; noon, regeneration poems by Greenacre Middle School pupils on Marine Parade; 12.15pm speeches.


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