£30,000 to light-up thug-struck play park

Pictured discussing proposed new lighting at the playpark in Osprey Way, Bishop Cuthbert, Hartlepool, on Friday are l-r Coun. Paul Beck, Gary Jones neighbourghood officer, Liam Stephenson community volunteer, Sgt. Mark Haworth and Rachel Parker community support, Hartlepool Borough Council
Pictured discussing proposed new lighting at the playpark in Osprey Way, Bishop Cuthbert, Hartlepool, on Friday are l-r Coun. Paul Beck, Gary Jones neighbourghood officer, Liam Stephenson community volunteer, Sgt. Mark Haworth and Rachel Parker community support, Hartlepool Borough Council
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THIRTY thousand pounds is to be spent on lighting up a thug-struck play park – but a councillor believes CCTV is the answer.

The Middle Warren Play Area and Neighbourhood Park opened in May last year to serve the Middle Warren and Bishop Cuthbert estates in Hartlepool.

But the state-of-the-art play area has attracted regular bouts of anti-social behaviour from youths, mostly on Friday and Saturday nights.

Councillor Paul Beck, who represents the Hart Ward, said he has received a string of complaints from homeowners living nearby – 10 in the last week – who have suffered eggs thrown at their homes, noise, the play equipment being broken, stolen, or vandalised, and glass bottles being left smashed about the place.

The play park developers and the councillors are stumping up £15,000 each to install 13 LED lighting columns as police officers say this will help them to patrol the site which is currently unlit.

But Coun Beck believes CCTV would be the key to deterring and identifying the unruly youths.

He is being backed by Cleveland Police who say they will be suggesting the deterrent of spy cameras to Hartlepool Borough Council chiefs.

“To me, CCTV seems the logical thing to do and then we could identify those responsible,” said Coun Beck.

“It seems for the moment that LED lighting is the way forward. It will assist the police with their patrols and they can see who is on the play park and identify the culprits that way.

“It will also help the residents to see who is causing the problems as well.

“The developers pledged £25,000 to further develop the park. So £15,000 of that money, and another £15,000 which has been matched by the council will be used to pay for the lights.”

He added: “I’m determined to get this sorted to protect those young families that want that facility.”

Sergeant Mark Howarth, for Cleveland Police, said: “As part of a plan to tackle the ongoing issues that we are seeing at the park we have put forward a proposal to the council to request that CCTV is installed to monitor the incidents and hopefully help bring them to an end.

“These issues are a priority for us and CCTV is another tool which may assist us in dealing with them.”

Coun Beck used some of his Ward Budget allocation to help fund the official opening of the facility, which was funded by housing developer Leebell and built by construction firm NEDCO.

It boasts swings and roundabouts, an enclosed multi-games area, climbing frames and a zip-wire ride, an attractive bandstand, walkways, landscaping, disabled access and car parking.

Anyone with information about the anti-social behaviour is advised to contact the police on 101.