save our village’s play area!

Hunmanby Play area Children and Parents protest at the potential closure of the play area .Picture Richard Ponter.113403a
Hunmanby Play area Children and Parents protest at the potential closure of the play area .Picture Richard Ponter.113403a

ANGRY parents in Hunmanby have launched a fight to save a popular children’s play area from closure.

Hunmanby Parish Council have threatened to axe facilities at Bowling Green Lane park after callous vandals struck again damaging equipment.

The council will be meeting next week to thrash out the future of the play area.

The park has been a regular target for yobs, with council officials only recently having to remove a crocodile-themed rocking ride after it was smashed open and daubed with offensive graffiti.

The park’s swings and fencing have also previously been damaged in senseless attacks.

Parent Joanne Paddock, of Wrangham Drive, has organised a campaign to keep the play area open, with petitions dotted around the village at various businesses including Hunmanby Pantry, Boots, The Southgate, Ellison’s, Cabelo Hair Salon and Cut Above.

Mrs Paddock, whose sons, Brandon, six, and five-year-old William regularly use the facilities, said removing the play area would be a devastating loss for youngsters in the area.

She said: “We all feel strongly about the play area and the children use it every single day, even in the winter time.

“We know it keeps getting vandalised but the answer is not to close the park for good.

“There needs to be something at this end of the village and we’re not being militant in this but feel as we need to get our voices heard.

“We understand what the council are saying about the vandalism but we have to work together to try and develop it.

“The play area gets used a lot, you only have to look at the park after school and it is heaving.

“But it is the minority again who are spoiling it for everyone.”

Mrs Paddock has also set up an online Facebook group - which already has more than 80 supporters - to maintain the fight.

She added: “None of us know the answer to solve the vandalism matter for good.

“However, we are all in agreement that getting rid of the play area is not the best way to solve things.”

Michelle Donohue-Moncrieff, chairman of Hunmanby Parish Council, said she understood the level of parents’ feeling at the potential closure.

However, she said the decision to remove equipment came from a mounting tide of vandalism, which last year included a bill for more than £1,000 to fix a broken wooden ramp, which was proving increasingly difficult to stop.

She added: “The real tragedy in all of this is that we have got yobs that are

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deliberately damaging the play area.

“We are sympathetic to the views of the parents and understand they are upset but the problem is the anti-social behaviour in the area and the malicious nature in which it is being carried out.

“This is not a knee-jerk reaction either and I know that the councillors do not take this at all lightly.

“But the fence has been damaged again and we’ve have just had to remove the crocodile rocker from the play area because it had been damaged so significantly that it was not safe for children to use.”