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Children's play equipment removed from park after antisocial fire damage

Children's play equipment has been removed from a local park after vandals set fire to the site again last weekend (24-25 June).

Burnt Slide Queen's Park

Article date: 30 June 2023

The slide, artificial grass and a number of balancing logs at Queen's Park were so severely fire damaged, they had to be removed due to safety concerns.

St Helens Borough councillors and officers have expressed anger and frustration over the damage, this being the third time similar anti-social behaviour has resulted in damage to this site in the last three years.

Because of the recurring cost to replace the play equipment at the council's and residents' expense, the council has reluctantly made the decision not reinstall equipment at this location.

Though Queen's Park does contain other play areas for local children and families to enjoy.

Councillor Andy Bowden, St Helens Borough Council's Cabinet Member for Environmental Services and Climate Change, said:

"We can't fully express our disgust and anger at the recurring and senseless damage being caused here and in other public parks. Each time it costs us and therefore Council Tax payers thousands for repairs and replacements, and robs local children and families in some of the most deprived areas of the free fun and enjoyment our parks provide. These idiotic individuals are truly pathetic and need to grow up fast."

West Park Ward Councillors Martin Bond, Derek Long and Marlene Quinn also voiced their frustration. In a joint statement, they added:

"This despicable anti-social behaviour is a blight on our otherwise neighbourly community in West Park. Once again, many local children have been pointlessly deprived of valued play equipment because of the mindless actions of a spiteful few. What's more is it costs the council and our residents significant sums at a time when financial pressures are mounting and vital services must be protected.

"If anyone has seen this or similar criminal damage taking place, we'd encourage them to report it to police, so that these cowardly individuals can see the consequences of their actions."

The slide was removed and the area made safe earlier today (Friday 30 June).