Campaigners hand over park petition

IPSWICH: A vocal group of campaigners have stepped up protests against cutbacks to security at their neighbourhood park.

A petition containing 2,300 signatures was delivered to the door of Ipswich Borough Council by protesters who fear cost-cutting measures could put safety at risk by reducing regular patrols at Holywells Park.

Led by Tom McCarthy, the group met councillor Inga Lockington, portfolio holder for parks and leisure, at the borough’s Grafton House HQ.

Having already fought successfully this year for the park to be locked overnight, the protesters hope to convince the council to drop plans to scrap the park patrol team completely.

Mr McCarthy, a member of the Friends of Holywells and a dog walker who uses the popular green space on a daily basis, said there was concern among campaigners that scrapping patrols will result in more anti-social behaviour and criminal damage.

Councillor Lockington said: “I have received the petition and will be handing it over to officers.

“We have to make the right decision. When we started consultation there were clearly a few people who thought the decision had already been made.

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“People feel very strongly about this issue. We are here to work with the community, and the friends of Holywells Park make such a great contribution.

“The problem we have is that we are having to go through the budget at every level and do things in the most cost-effective way possible.

“A decision will be taken in October when the consultation is taken to the council executive. The consultation is not over and people are encouraged to comment on all parks and open spaces proposals.”

n What’s your view on the parks proposals? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk