More than 2,000 people sign petition to keep park patrols

IPSWICH: Campaigners who fear park cutbacks could put safety at risk are today taking their fight to the borough chiefs.

Tom McCarthy and an army of protesters who want to see park patrols retained, are due to go to the council offices tonight to hand over a 2,300-signature petition.

The park protesters have already had a partial victory over their fight to keep the parks locked over night, as revealed in The Evening Star earlier this year, but they want the council to drop the plans to scrap the park patrol team completely.

Mr McCarthy, a dog walker who uses Holywells Park in Ipswich on a daily basis, said: “We have been going door-to-door getting support and we will meet with councillor Inga Lockington, who is the portfolio holder for parks and leisure at the borough council.”

He added: “They need to save �600,000 over three years but we feel there are other ways to save money. We feel that getting rid of the patrols will result in more anti-social behaviour and criminal damage, making the parks less safe for all the users.”

It has been suggested volunteers could take on some of the duties performed by the park patrol team, including rubbish collections and securing the gates at dusk each day.

Mr McCarthy, a member of the Friends of Holywells Park, feels this is unacceptable and said: “We object to this on health and safety grounds.

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“At Holywells they ring the bell 15 minutes before the park closes and go around making sure everyone is out of the park. If that is not done properly you could end up with someone locked in there and if, like we saw earlier in the year, the temperature plummets we could have a fatality on our hands.”

The petition is to be handed in at Grafton House, in Russell Road, tonight at 6.30pm.

n What would you like to see happen in your local park? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.