Chester

Talking West Cheshire

Council and Community work together to defeat the vandals at Chester's Alexandra Park and Coronation Playing Fields

29 August 2012

Alexandra Park and the adjacent popular Coronation Playing Fields in Hoole, Chester have been the subject of a sustained vandal attack over a recent 14 day period.

The football changing rooms at Coronation Fields were targeted when vandals broke in through the roof using an axe.

There was considerable damage to the roof and inside the building, with toilets, wash basins and showers damaged.

Only last year Cheshire West and Chester Council funded a £10,000 refurbishment scheme after a similar attack. The Chester and District Football League is helping to put right the recent vandalism whilst the roof has been repaired by the Council.

Greenspace Ranger Andy James outside the refurbished toilets in Alexandra Park.In Alexandra Park toilets were damaged. A cistern was ripped off a wall, handles removed from toilets, one toilet bowl lifted off its fittings and excrement was smeared on the walls of the gents toilets.

One vandal continued to smash a sink drainage pipe when he was confronted by a park user.

The toilets have now been refurbished by the Council.

   

The Veterans Hut door had been boarded up because it had been smashed, as well as the windows, and vandals gained entry by breaking through a wall.

The Council is working with Police and also Council patrols have been stepped up in the park at night.

Councillor Stuart Parker, Executive Member for Culture and Recreation said: “This wide spread destruction has left many people who use the Park and Coronation Playing Fields angry and heartbroken.

“Why carry out such senseless acts? The vandals have got to remember that they are hurting their own community who are now suffering because of their wanton actions.

Vandalism in the football changing rooms at nearby Coronation Playing Fields."If anyone has information they should contact Police as quickly as possible.”

Police Inspector Kevin Chambers said: “Cheshire Police will not tolerate mindless acts of vandalism such as this.

“We understand that antisocial behaviour and vandalism can have a profound effect upon our communities and residents, and we will do all we can to act on reports of such criminality and gather an intelligence picture to bring to justice those who commit this type of offence.”

Local Councillor Alex Black said: “This destruction has got to stop and if park users see anything suspicious they should immediately call Police because this trail of destruction must come to an end.

“The toilets were left in a disgusting state of disrepair.

“They have now been put right but sadly for now can only be used by organised groups, such as bowls players, who will be given keys so that they can use the facilities.”

Added local Councillor Bob Thompson: “This sustained attack has affected everyone who takes pride in and enjoys this wonderful park and nearby Coronation Playing Fields.

“It is extremely sad that the Veterans Hut has been a target for the vandalism. And it is not only the smashed windows and graffiti outside - they were determined to get inside the building as well.

"And it must not be forgotten that the Council’s repair bill will ultimately be paid by Council taxpayers.”

Members of the Chester and District Football League are rallying round to help repair the changing rooms.

Paul Graham, Secretary of Chester and District Football League said: “The damage is absolutely appalling and totally mindless.

“League members are working together to repair the inside of the Coronation Playing Fields building.

“Some of our members are plumbers and builders in their day jobs, so we have the skills needed to make sure the changing rooms are up and running in the next few weeks.”

Added Councillor Parker: “This is a great example of the Council and the community working together to defeat the vandals.

“Hoole is a fantastic place to enjoy all sorts of sports and is well loved by residents of all ages.

“I am really pleased that the community has rallied round and we need to make it clear to the minority who have carried out this vandalism that this is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”