Vandals target children’s play area, with closure mooted

The work of vandals at Banbury's Princess Diana Park, the fourth such attack in the last month NNL-170421-154506001

The work of vandals at Banbury's Princess Diana Park, the fourth such attack in the last month NNL-170421-154506001

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A children’s play area on Banbury’s Bretch Hill could be closed down if vandals continue setting fire to equipment.

The warning comes after the fourth blaze in the last month at Princess Diana Park.

Banbury Town Council, which owns the park, says it cannot afford to keep replacing damaged items.

The park was given a facelift six years ago when over £150,000 was spent on new play items, fencing and landscaping.

But a history of vandalism, including the arson attacks, means the council must now consider if the play area can be retained.

Other incidents include wrecking a play tunnel, digging up the soft safety surface, and pulling down fencing.

Cllr Colin Clarke, chairman of the town’s general services committee, said: “This sort of damage just isn’t acceptable. We have more vandalism in Princess Di Park than in all the other parks and play areas put together – and the past 12 months have been the worst on record.

“The time has come to decide if the play area is worth maintaining. This council cannot keep spending taxpayers money on what could be described as a lost cause.”

A local resident, who didn’t want to be named, said: “My house is near the park – and things have never been as bad as they are now.

“Vandalism is a regular occurrence and we’ve had enough. Something needs to be done.”

Cllr Clarke added: “Local people need to look after the facilities provided. If they don’t, they’ll lose them.”