Park faces closure after vandalism

Vandalism at Dame Sarah Swift park, councillors may have to close it after 3 years of trouble. Councillors Ian Turner and David Danby at the entrance to the park. EMN-170619-102920001
Vandalism at Dame Sarah Swift park, councillors may have to close it after 3 years of trouble. Councillors Ian Turner and David Danby at the entrance to the park. EMN-170619-102920001

A council has been left at the end of its tether after years of repeated issues with a local park – with it facing possible closure should the trouble continue.

Since opening three years ago, the Dame Sarah Swift Park, in Kirton, has seen continuous issues from youths – believed to be from both inside and outside the village – who according to parish council chairman Ian Turner ‘think the idea of the use of the park is to slowly dismantle it’.

Vandalism at Dame Sarah Swift park, councillors may have to close it after 3 years of trouble. Councillors Ian Turner and David Danby showing damaged fence around the children's play area. EMN-170619-102844001

Vandalism at Dame Sarah Swift park, councillors may have to close it after 3 years of trouble. Councillors Ian Turner and David Danby showing damaged fence around the children's play area. EMN-170619-102844001

Damage has included the skate ramps covered in graffiti, gates ripped off the fencing, broken bottles and litter left everywhere and items dumped in the areas backing on to neighbouring properties.

Now, the parish council is imploring local people to report incidents, including names and faces if possible, to authorities.

Mr Turner said the council was contacting ‘agencies’ including police and Boston Borough Council.

He said: “We cannot, as a council monitor it ourselves. Some of the council members have asked youths to move away to somewhere else.

Vandalism at Dame Sarah Swift park, councillors may have to close it after 3 years of trouble. Graffiti on the skate park.

Vandalism at Dame Sarah Swift park, councillors may have to close it after 3 years of trouble. Graffiti on the skate park.

“There’s an alcohol ban there but that’s just being ignored by a small group of youths.

“Nobody seems willing to give names to the police.”

“We just don’t know which way to turn,” he added.

“We cannot afford to fence it off completely and even if we did there’s no guarantee they won’t vandalise it.”

Vandalism at Dame Sarah Swift park, councillors may have to close it after 3 years of trouble. Rubbish dumped under the bushes. EMN-170619-102907001

Vandalism at Dame Sarah Swift park, councillors may have to close it after 3 years of trouble. Rubbish dumped under the bushes. EMN-170619-102907001

The council will also visit local schools to speak to young people.

The skate park cost £35,000, the children’s play area had cost £15,000 and the fencing had cost £8,000.

Borough Councillor Claire Rylott has written to the council saying: “The residents are frightened with regards to youths in there in the evening, and mums with toddlers rarely go in.

“We continue to spend money on this park only to find once repaired items continue to be wrecked. I feel our Chair has had enough and is ready to say ‘enough is enough let’s close it down’.

“Again a few are spoiling this park for the majority. A lot of hard work went into creating this as what was supposed to be a fantastic amenity for Kirton.”

A police spokesman said the neighbourhood policing teams were aware of the issues.

They asked anyone who witnessed vandalism at the park to report it to the non-emergency number 101 or 999 in an emergency.