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An end to play

PUBLISHED: 00:32 07 April 2004 | UPDATED: 04:46 02 March 2010

DISAPPOINTED parents have today expressed their sadness at the loss of two play areas in their town.

The play areas, outside the Kesgrave War Memorial Community Centre, were removed at the start of the year following repeated reports of vandalism and disturbance.

DISAPPOINTED parents have today expressed their sadness at the loss of two play areas in their town.

The play areas, outside the Kesgrave War Memorial Community Centre, were removed at the start of the year following repeated reports of vandalism and disturbance.

Bonnie Swan, of Fellbrigg Avenue, Rushmere St Andrew, regularly visited the play areas with her children, Savannah, seven, and Caleb, three. She said: "My children were really sad to see the park had gone but were excited that there might be a brand new one in its place.

"I was appalled to hear there won't be.

"To say they are taking it down because it's been vandalised is a cop out. It's like admitting they can't control the vandals and letting them take over the community."

Another mum, who did not wish to be named, said: "It's a real shame. It used to be a really popular place for children on their way back from school. There isn't anything else like it nearby and I feel like it's letting the vandals win."

There were two separate play areas, one for under sevens and another for older children. But both became a popular spot for teenagers to gather in the evenings.

Community centre manager Alan Smith said: "There was an under-utilisation of both areas and the playground had become a magnet for vandalism.

"Youngsters were gathering there in the evenings and creating a nuisance for people in the neighbouring houses. We had to have a locked fence around it and people were regularly vandalising it.

"The equipment was becoming old and unsafe and, the area was basically becoming an open air drop-in centre for vandals. It would have been too costly for us to replace it.

"Children won't lose out because there are other playgrounds within a close radius."

Mr Smith plans to develop the under sevens' playground into a landscaped area with benches.

He said: "There's a lot of sheltered housing near the centre and many of the old people come over to Tesco to do their shopping. I want to create a nice place where people can sit and relax, somewhere where they can just come and read a book or stop off on their way back from shops."

Do you think the play facilities at Kesgrave are good enough? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN.


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