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Parents appeal for play area




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Parents are calling for action to stop anti-social behaviour at a children’s play area in Ollerton.

A petition asking for something to be done to put a stop to anti-social behaviour, alcohol abuse and arson at the play area off Birch Road, Ollerton, has been organised by Mrs Natasha Davies and Mrs Lorraine Burton, both of Birch Road, Ollerton.

The petition has more than 100 signatures and was started following an arson attack on a slide and protective matting at the area, which caused around £2,000-worth of damage.

It was the second attack on thearea since Ollerton Town Council spent £14,000 refurbishing it in September.

As a result of the attack thearea is closed.

Mrs Burton, who ran a campaign to get the council to upgrade the area, said something needed to be done to stop the attacks happening again.

She said: “We want the council to take positive action, such as putting gates and fencing around the area.

“The attacks have been devastating butthere were problems before with anti-social behaviour and vandalism. Everyone is just fed up.”

Mrs Burton said that a lot of the problems stemmed from large groups of teenagers who often congregated in the area.

She said: “It is not uncommon to have groups of up to 30 teenagers in the area drinking, smoking and shouting. People are scared to take their children to use it.

“It gets worse at night and sometimes they are there until 3am.

“It can be intimidating. If you try to approach them you getabuse.”

Mrs Burton said that it was not just the play area that was getting vandalised.

One man, whose property backs on to the area, had his fence knocked down twice in the space of two days.

She said that the introduction of security cameras and extra lighting might help to curb the problems,especially as most of the problems were after dark.

Pc Colin Oakley, the beat manager for Ollerton and Boughton, saidthe police were doing everything they could to find the perpetrators of the fire and stop anti-social behaviour in, and around, the play area.

He said that a dispersal order, which allows police to disperse large groups that cause a nuisance,has been in place since 2007 in Ollerton and Boughton and it had proved successful in reducing anti-social behaviour.

A town councillor, Mr Terry Bell,was sympathetic to parents’ concerns about the area.

He said that the council was waiting for its insurance company and the manufacturers of the equipment to send their reports before they could take any action to re-open and make the area more secure.

He said: “The wheels are in motion with regard to taking some action at the area but unfortunately it will be a long process.

“Sadly, the park will remain closed for the time being, so young children will not get the benefit of it.

“We want to make sure we get it right so there are no future problems.

“We will not let these vandals win.”

The petition, which is still collecting signatures, will be handed in to Ollerton and Boughton Town Council at its next full council meeting in February.


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