New Carnlough play park vandalism fear

Damage caused by vandals at Carnlough's Beachlands play park. INLT-29-702-con
Damage caused by vandals at Carnlough's Beachlands play park. INLT-29-702-con

Fears have been raised over the future of Carnlough’s new £100,000 playpark after vandals attacked an existing facility for the third time.

Pádraigín Uí Bhaoill, who has lived in the village for over thirty years, posted pictures of the children’s playpark at Beachlands on social media after the protective surface under the children’s swings was destroyed.

Other locals who observed the vandalism reported witnessing the perpetrators throwing pieces of the playpark surface at windows, throwing them into residents’ gardens and “trying to kick the climbing frame out of the ground” in the playpark.

Pádraigín told The Times: “This playpark has been there for four or five years. It was updated, and now it’s being destroyed.

“Sometimes when children are on the swings the protective felt, which is easily worn away, starts to develop a hole and when that occurs they begin to pick at it until it becomes masssive.

“They throw it anywhere and everywhere. The council has been alerted and they are going down to fix it all up, but I can’t see them fixing it much longer as this has happened before. It’s a strange thing damaging their own commmunity but it’s probably through boredom.”

The cost of repairs to the park in 2011 was £13,000. In 2012, £3,500 was spent at the site after the protective safety surface intended to cushion falls from play equipment was ripped up at the weekend and dumped in a neighbouring property and two pieces of play equipment were damaged.

Pádraigín says she is concerned that the planned new Croft Road playpark will also be targeted.

“The local community has spent ages trying to get it done up and people are worrying about the new park, incase it could go the same way,” she revealed.

“It is made from more natural, soft materials that could be damaged but the residents’ group in that area are going to keep an eye on it.”

Coast Road Councillor James McKeown said “It makes you angry, people worked hard to get the facilities and for the village and it’s not nice when someone comes in and damages it.”

However, Cllr McKeown said he “wasn’t worried the new play park will go the same way.”

“This happens every now and then to each and every play park within the borough,” he stated.

“Carnlough shouldn’t be over-dramatised.”

A MEA Borough Council spokesperson said council was aware of the damage and was currently assessing it, therefore they were “unable to say what repairs will cost at the moment.”