Brandon skate park hit by vandalism

Work to refurbish a popular skate park has been hit by delays because of vandalism to equipment.

Brandon Remembrance Playing Fields, a registered charity, secured more than �12,000 of funding to revamp ramps and platforms and to box in areas to prevent anti-social behaviour at the site off Church Road.

But work has been disrupted by damage to safety fencing, erected to keep youngsters away from dangerous materials and half-finished work, and disruptive behaviour by some young people in the town.

This has left contractors Modex having to carry out most of the work, which began on May 15, at its Peterborough base before moving equipment to the Brandon site.

Treasurer of Brandon Remembrance Playing Fields, Margaret Young, said: “The children have been taking the safety fencing down and removing the bolts which means the contractor is having to spend time putting it all back together again – the bits and pieces are all over the place.

“He and I spoke to the youngsters and they were very sensible and understanding but I went back later that evening and there was another group there who were abusive and using the ‘f’ word and ‘c’ word so I walked away.

“It’s a well-used skate park and I don’t understand why we’ve been having so many problems.”

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Owner of Modex, Ed Simms, said the situation was “tiresome” and added: “We did refuse to carry on at one point and got the police in, and they have had a presence, but it’s just putting the whole job back.

“We’re wasting half a day’s work putting everything back again – this is the one and only time I’ve seen kids break their own equipment.

“If they just left it alone we’d be done by the back end of next week but they just want to use it now. It’s not a difficult job and it should have been finished a week ago but it’s taking time because of this.”

Some �7,500 of funding was granted by the Awards for All Big Lottery Fund, �2,000 from the Suffolk Foundation, �2,000 from Brandon Town Council and �550 for bike racks from Suffolk county and Forest Heath district councillor Bill Bishop.

Mr Bishop added: “We’ve been talking about the skate park for so long and now we’ve opened it up so we can see the site from the playing field I’m hoping things will get better.”