WORK to create a new play area inside a popular park has stopped after angry residents submitted a petition opposing the plans to council bosses.
Hartlepool Borough Council plans to build a new play area under the Playbuilder scheme in Rossmere Park, off Rossmere Way.
But work has been halted because half a dozen households are objecting to the play facility moving closer to their homes.
The current play area, which includes a five-a-side court, is based near the Braemar Road entrance. But under Playbuilder a new area for younger children would be built closer to homes in Rossmere Way, near the tea rooms.
Resident representative Peter Joyce, who lives in Rossmere Way, said people are concerned that their quality of life will be affected by yobs congregating and causing anti-social behaviour.
Mr Joyce, who also voiced concerns about the consultation process, said: “Residents are not totally against the regeneration of the park.
“They are against moving the play area closer to their homes.
“The play area is attracting teenagers to stay and break into the park.
“The light warm nights and school holidays are especially bad.”
The Playbuilder scheme is part of a wider masterplan which, subject to funding, could include a new cafe, community room, car park and revamped paths.
A new multi-use games area for older children has been built at the nearby Rossmere Youth Centre.
A council spokesman said: “We are aware of Mr Joyce’s concerns and we are currently in correspondence with him.
“In respect of the town-wide Playbuilder initiative, a comprehensive phased consultation exercise took place in 2009 which involved us liaising closely with hundreds of residents and, specifically, many children and young people.
“The responses received suggested that this was a very effective consultation exercise and the success of Playbuilder schemes subsequently built in a number of locations bears witness to this.
“At that time, we asked people to complete an anonymous score card to rate possible play area sites and the site currently proposed for Rossmere Park had one of the highest approval rates of all the sites considered around the town.
“In respect of the wider Rossmere Park Ideas and Options Plan, which is being driven forward by the community-based Friends of Rossmere Park group, it is important to stress that at this stage the ideas and concepts contained within the plan are just that – ideas and concepts.
“No decisions have yet been taken and there will be further opportunities for comment, discussion and, ultimately, revision should that be required.”
Labour councillor Ann Marshall, of the Friends of Rossmere Park group, said: “We held four public consultation meetings nearly two years ago when Playbuilder was first mentioned.
“Households surrounding the park were hand delivered leaflets encouraging them to take part.”