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Increase in anti-social behaviour at Lisburn park raised at council

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Broken glass bottles have been found strewn across the open space along with alcohol cans and other litter. (Philip Toscano/PA)

Broken glass bottles have been found strewn across the open space along with alcohol cans and other litter. (Philip Toscano/PA)

PA

Broken glass bottles have been found strewn across the open space along with alcohol cans and other litter. (Philip Toscano/PA)

Vandals are leaving a council with huge cleaning costs to maintain a Lisburn park due to an increase in anti-social behaviour.

The award-winning Wallace Park has been the target of vandalism in recent weeks with teenagers accused of holding impromptu late night parties.

Broken glass bottles have been found strewn across the open space along with alcohol cans and other litter.

Raising the issue at a full sitting of the Lisburn and Castlereagh Council, DUP councillor Jonathan Craig said "the awful mess" was being left on a weekly basis, usually during weekends.

He added that a warden scheme for Wallace Park had previously been implemented but had since been removed.

Lisburn and Castlereagh Council said the park currently did not have any wardens at present but it continued to "work closely with the PSNI where appropriate" and had "increased CCTV coverage to monitor activity".

A council spokesperson said they were aware there was a "general increase in gatherings in open spaces recently" and urged parents to 'know where their children were' at all times.

However, concerns are now being raised about the effectiveness of the new approach with Mr Craig saying it was "becoming increasingly clear" that the current system was not working.

He said: "I am surprised by the fact that there are no longer any wardens in the park because it was a scheme where we would have had staff monitoring the space.

"I believe the problem with the old scheme was that it wasn't 24/7, it was 9am to 5pm. When that scheme was removed, it is my understanding that CCTV was introduced to cover any vandalism and the council would work in conjunction with the PSNI.

"But something isn't right with that system because we are having to send teams of people to clean the park from this type of vandalism more often.

"That's a problem because it is predominantly families and young people that use the park and we can't leave it in that state.

"This is an award-winning park and I believe this is something that needs to be looked at again because this cannot continue because there is an ongoing cost here.

"There is a cost to the council having to clean the park up throughout the week and if we could offset that by reintroducing some sort of scheme, then it might be worth getting cover at the weekend."

The council said their parks and open spaces must be "safe places for all who visit".

Belfast Telegraph


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