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£1k worth of damage is caused to play park

Over £1,000 worth of damage was caused to a Newtownabbey park last year, it has been revealed.

The figure was given at this month’s meeting of Newtownabbey Borough Council’s Leisure Committee after a request last month by Alderman Nigel Hamilton on the amount of damage at Glengormley Play Park.

He said: “I received a number of complaints from local residents that damage was being done and have witnessed on several occasions young people throwing swings around and causing considerable disturbance in the dark autumn evenings after 10pm.

“Having spoken to the local Inspector about this and asking for passing attention to be paid by PSNI I decided to raise the issue in committee.

“Following my request the officers have reported to our January meeting that up to £1,200 damage has been caused between April to December of the past year.

“While the council have given a commitment to keep replacing light bulbs which are being deliberately damaged these lights are only operating on the main pathway.”

Alderman Hamilton said he was determined to push for additional lights to be put in and around the play park to improve lighting and minimise the ongoing and repetitive damage.

He added: “It’s easy for council officers to forget that residents who reside in close proximity to council facilities are often the victim of the high volumes of noise caused by young people who gather in areas which are poorly lit and attract them because they can’t be seen easily.”

A spokeswoman for the council said: “Between April and December 2009, 32 incidents of vandalism in Glengormley Play Park were recorded by the council.

“The cost of repairing this damage, mostly graffiti, has been estimated at £1,200. Lighting in the area is currently being reviewed. The council operates a Play Safe monitoring system, which involves regular inspections of play areas and repair work to be prioritised.

“The council has recently employed park wardens who will patrol all the park areas throughout the borough in a bid to reduce anti-social behaviour.”

Belfast Telegraph