FOUNTAIN Fields has reopened, having been forced to close after vandals left the bandstand so damaged it had to be dismantled.

The park reopened this morning, Friday, having been closed yesterday in order to keep residents safe.

The bandstand has been dismantled and removed, while broken glass has been cleared up along with damaged plants and fencing.

A council spokesman said on Thursday, August 29: “This morning we received reports that a group of young people had made their way onto the roof of the park’s bandstand and badly damaged it – to the extent that the whole structure must now be dismantled.

Winsford Guardian:

“Damage has also been caused to plants and fencing and a large amount of broken glass had been strewn across the park. This follows a pattern of anti-social behaviour that has been seen in the park over the past six weeks.

“The council is extremely saddened to learn about the damage to Fountain Fields, which recently received a Green Flag award, and would like to thank residents for their understanding while the park is made safe.

“The damage has been reported to the police and CCTV footage is also being reviewed.”

Fountain Fields, which had a £300,000 makeover last year, has become a hotspot for anti-social behaviour in recent months.

CCTV was installed at the park in June after Middlewich Town Council agreed to fund the system following reports of bad behaviour.

 

 

Underage drinking has also been a major issue at Fountain Fields this summer – and a 14-year-old girl was taken by police to hospital unresponsive on July 12, while a large quantity of alcohol was also seized.

Cllr Carol Bulman, Labour CEC member for Middlewich, is disappointed that the behaviour of a minority is ruining the town’s fun.

Winsford Guardian:

She said: “The bandstand is very popular. Everybody likes it, it was quite expensive, it was supposed to attract teenagers – and it did.

“Unfortunately, on Wednesday night at about 10.30 – when it was dark – we have got CCTV images of people on the roof of it and damaged it. Because of that they have had to close the park while they fix it.

“We need a very different approach for next summer. The park is still a great success, a lot of people want to use it, but the problem is that a few are spoiling it for the many.”

Cllr Bulman believes the £8,000 CCTV investment has been worthwhile – although she says it has been a difficult summer, with PCSOs sometimes unavailable to attend incidents quickly.

She said: “It is a small group of kids that have got into the habit of coming to the park, smashing bottles and behaving badly. Some of them are quite young, and to leave the park open is almost to attract them to further bad behaviour.

“The CCTV has been a fantastic success – we have got very clear images of anyone that misbehaves.

“I think it is possibly to do with the flooding we had in Poynton, and possibly the fire at Beechmere in Crewe, but there have been incidents where PCSOs have been taken out of Middlewich.

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“We wanted incidents picked up on the CCTV to be looked at quickly by police so that we could nip bad behaviour in the bud, but clearly that has not happened.

“We will be having a meeting in early September to evaluate the way that we have dealt with the park this summer.”