More vandalism at Biggleswade playground prompts call for CCTV coverage

Plants targeted by vandals at restored play area
Vandalism at Franklin Recreation GroundVandalism at Franklin Recreation Ground
Vandalism at Franklin Recreation Ground

Vandalism to plants at the newly renovated Franklin Recreation Ground in Biggleswade will be reported to Bedfordshire Police, a meeting heard.

CCTV footage is available to the town council, which wants to use its mobile cameras at the site as soon as possible.

The site off Mill Lane was targeted during the improvement programme, with considerable damage to play equipment and the works underneath it in the worst incident, and fencing targeted on a separate occasion.

Town councillor Madeline Russell told the council: “A resident in Mallard Walk says there are often youths there on a Friday and Saturday evening, sometimes into the early hours.

“We need to keep pressing the police to go down there and see what’s happening,” she said.

“Apparently there’s plenty of noise, which is a disturbance to those houses, and it’s not clear what’s going on apart from the vandalism we’re hearing about.”

Town councillor Dan Albone referred to reports on social media of plants being pulled up and asked about the extent of the damage.

Head of governance and strategic partnerships Karim Hosseini replied: “There have been eight to ten plants pulled up out of about 1,400.”

Mayor Mark Foster explained: “It’s not great, and while it’s not wholesale removal it’s still unacceptable.

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“It would be fair to say we need to take some sort of action and contact the police.”

Town councillor Jonathan Woodhead said: “It’s great we’re investing in this play area and residents have been appreciative.

“But I’ve a general concern about the risk of vandalism and anti-social behaviour. We ought to protect what we’ve done and preserve what we’re investing in on the site.”

Town councillor Duncan Strachan suggested: “As the wildlife camera is there I hope we’re reviewing it regularly, particularly if there are any signs of vandalism and following that through.”

Clerk Peter Tarrant said: “Every time we spot something it’s being passed on to the police.”

Head of governance and strategic partnerships Karim Hosseini told the council: “Two new gates have been installed one at the end on Mill Lane and one at the bottom end.”

Costings including landscaping were estimated around £20,000 and work is progressing to budget, according to a report to the council. Some more furnishings require an extra £1,427, said the report.

Councillors noted these additional project requirements, and unanimously agreed to allow officers to obtain the items and complete the work by the end of this month.