High cost of park damage
ACTS of vandalism and criminal damage in one of Suffolk's award winning parks are costing council taxpayers £10,000 a year.The latest spate of damage to Elmhurst Park, Woodbridge, will cost more than £750 to repair.
ACTS of vandalism and criminal damage in one of Suffolk's award winning parks are costing council taxpayers £10,000 a year.
The latest spate of damage to Elmhurst Park, Woodbridge, will cost more than £750 to repair.
But each incident is worth about the amount of excess which would have to be paid on an insurance claim and therefore, instead of claiming, the town council ends up footing the bill.
Up to £50,000 a year is spent on making the park the “jewel in the crown” for the historic town, and the town council admitted it was fed up with sustained criminal damage which was blighting the area.
In the last week the top of the wall to the south end of the park had many large coping stones knocked off.
Two days later the multi-play area for children under fives was vandalised and then at the weekend vandals tore off coping stones around the historic raised border. They were damaged beyond repair.
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There was also damage to the floral beds and rose garden and many plants were uprooted and destroyed.
Nigel Barratt, mayor of Woodbridge, said: “It is almost as if the park is being targeted deliberately.
“It is not just the cost of the damage that is the problem but it affects the people of Woodbridge who want to use the park.
“Roses that have been sponsored have been ripped up and plaques that were given for trees have been ripped off.
“We also have the anti social behaviour with people drinking in the park, which is an alcohol-free zone, and the clerk, Chris Walker, has been verbally abused.
“Also, an attendant who opens and closes the gates has been threatened. Obscene acts have been committed in front of old people and when people drink in the park it can lead to fights.”
Mr Barratt added: “We are suffering from a constant low level of crime.
“Each incident is not costing a great deal and it is not worth claiming on insurance but the sheer numbers of crimes add up, and I would say we are looking at a cost running into £10,000 a year of damage.”