Play area in Biggleswade still closed after vandals caused £3k damage

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It's been closed since February

A Biggleswade play area has been shut since it was vandalised around six weeks ago, with full repairs expected to total more than £3,000, a meeting heard.

Part of the surface at the Playfield Close play area was destroyed by vandals in late February, according to a report to the town council’s public land and open spaces committee.

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Council officers informed Bedfordshire Police, and have obtained a quote for two potential repair options, said the report.

Biggleswade Town Council office. Picture: Tony MargiocchiBiggleswade Town Council office. Picture: Tony Margiocchi
Biggleswade Town Council office. Picture: Tony Margiocchi

“The entire play area has been closed to the public since the incident. One option is to patch repair the damaged area and the second is to replace the entire ground surface, new for old, at significantly greater cost.

“Officers intend to correct this damage through making a claim on the council’s general insurance policy, which covers vandalism. It’s anticipated the costs will be recompensed by the insurance company.”

BTC’s head of governance and strategic partnerships Karim Hosseini explained: “Officers as recently as today have been in contact with the insurers. The firm is still considering which of the corrective measures to take.

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“That’s whether it should be repairing the smaller patch with an £850 cost or redoing the complete rubberised surfacing at just over £3,000. Officers prefer the latter.”

Town councillor Duncan Strachan said: “I would certainly expect this to be met by insurance before we come to a final decision, so I’m glad we’re talking to the insurers and hopefully we’ll agree the better option.”

Mr Hosseini added: “We’re pushing for the more expensive option to make sure it’s done once and properly.”

Referring to the replacement quote, town councillor Jo Jones asked whether the turf, available at an extra cost, was part of the damage and included in the insurance claim, and if a patched repair affects safety in any way.

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“We should do all we can to put it right in one go, as you said,” she suggested.

BTC’s public realm manager Harry Henderson replied: “The patched repair wouldn’t be 100 per cent. Over time it would become weak again. The best option all round would be the full repair of the surface.”

Town clerk Peter Tarrant confirmed: “We’re in negotiation with the insurers and we hope it’ll be the latter because that’s the more sensible option.”

Mayor Mark Foster explained: “The talks with the insurance company need to progress. We need to make the right decision regarding the safety and longevity of the facility.

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“I’m not suggesting we take the lower amount and build it up from council reserves. But that could be something we need to consider, if the negotiations with the insurers don’t go ahead and progress in the way we hoped.”

Town councillor Michael North, who chairs the committee, said: “Can that be noted as an option, if that’s the way it turns out, to be brought back possibly to a town council meeting if necessary?”

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