Green flag Chesterfield park '˜being ruined' by vandalism
A Hasland woman has issued a plea to the authorities to tackle vandalism and anti-social behaviour in Eastwood Park.
Barbara Hughes, of Meadowhill Road, says the situation is ‘beyond a joke’ and is spoiling people’s enjoyment of the area.
And the 78-year-old described the latest damage to a recently refurbished toilet block in the park as ‘beyond belief’.
She said: “It has been going on for years and we’re just fed up - it can’t be allowed to continue.
“Two weeks ago they tried to set fire to the floor in the toilets and emptied one of the waste bins all over it as well.
“They only opened them a few years ago but no one seems to be doing anything about it.
“We feel a bit frustrated.”
As well as vandalism, Barbara also says she has been subjected to abusive language from young people whom congregate near the toilets.
“I don’t like to go in the park when there are kids around,” she said.
When Barbara contacted the area’s councillors some time ago, the problems appeared to have stopped.
The seating in the park’s sensory garden was taken away and this stopped youths congregating in the area.
But, over recent months, the problems have returned.
“If it means banning teenagers then that is what must be done,” said Barbara.
“These vandals must be caught whatever it takes and their parents made to pay for the damage.
“I don’t know why security cameras are not being set up and used.”
Barbara has written to both Chesterfield Borough Council and the Friends of Eastwood Park about her concerns in recent weeks.
“The Friends of Eastwood Park sent a very short note back which didn’t answer any of my questions.
“The council now say they will be closing the toilets at 6pm and the park at 9.30 - so we will see if this makes a difference.”
She says she is keen for people to know that anti-social behaviour of this kind is not only a problem that affects Chesterfield town centre.
“Eastwood Park is fast becoming a place to avoid in the evening or during school holidays,” she said.
“What is happening there is no less important than New Beetwell Street.
Councillor Chris Ludlow, the council’s cabinet member for environment, said: “Over the last six months there has been an increase in the amount of vandalism at Eastwood Park in Hasland and particularly in the refurbished toilet area.
“We have taken action to deal with the problem including closing the park gates and toilet doors earlier each evening.
“The police have increased patrols of the area and we have also been in contact with local schools to make them aware of the problem.”