New park - £500,000 plus Vandal Added Tax

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AN ARBROATH councillor has called for CCTV coverage to be extended to the town’s brand new playpark following vandalism.

Arbroath West and Letham Independent councillor David Fairweather spotted damage to the West Links playpark which was only officially opened yesterday (Thursday).

And he expressed his disgust to the Herald: “It was with dismay that I passed the new £500,000 play park at West Links on Saturday morning and witnessed that already one part of the new features had been vandalised.

“This was no mean feat as the item concerned was one of the chess pieces made of stone, which would have taken at least four people to lift off its metal rod.

“The gross stupidity of this act goes beyond any normal person’s rationale of what is in the interest of public safety.

“I have again contacted the director of neighbourhood services asking that he work with the West Links Partnership to install CCTV as soon as possible alongside the signage that states that anyone who vandalises or misuses the play park will be prosecuted.

“Hopefully all like minded members of the public will notify the police of any untoward activity in the area.”

This is not the first time Councillor Fairweather has noticed the park being abused. He said: “Over the last few weeks whilst walking my dog in the West Links area, I have had to call the police on two occasions for the misuse of the park and warn younger members of the public that while the fencing was still up with ‘Danger do not enter’ signs that the area was not open to the public.

“It was fantastic to see children and adults by the dozen enjoying this new wonderland of fun and it angers me that a small minority seem to think they can spoil if for those it was intended for, by riding bikes, misusing the equipment and generally thinking they are being smart by doing so.”

The incident also elicited this comment on our website from concerned reader jjohnmichael4u. He said: “Was there with my family as well as many others on Saturday enjoying a much needed leisure activity in Arbroath.

“Now I know kids over the age of 14 need something to do but unfortunately many older kids / teens were in the park as well who kind of took the experience away from the younger kids.

“Not just the Links but other parks like the Saltire some groups / packs of kids whose only intent is to destroy.

“As a parent whose kids enjoy these parks I would like to see my tax money putting in CCTV to identify those involved. As well as more foot patrols or community wardens.

“Time something was done.”

Vice-convener of neighbourhood services Jeanette Gaul also expressed her anger. She said: “I condemn this mindless vandalism, where a tiny minority of people are set on spoiling this asset to the town and have in the process seriously compromised their own safety.

“The more money we require to spend on repairing vandalism, the less we have to spend elsewhere.

“We need to work as a community to eliminate this anti- social behaviour, and I ask that anyone witnessing vandalism at West Links or any of our other play areas should immediately contact the police.”

A spokesperson for Angus Council added: “We will undertake various works to prevent this happening again, and increase surveillance in the area.”

What do you think? Should playparks have CCTV coverage? Are there other options to be considered? Send us your opinions in the usual ways.