Happy days for park

September 01 2014

A PLAY area which was out of bounds after vandals set fire to equipment is now up and running.

springfield road park

A PLAY area which was out of bounds after vandals set fire to equipment is now up and running.

Residents living by Springfield Park in Mangotsfield were left reeling back in May after arsonists set ablaze a popular climbing castle and special matting used to cushion any falls.

It meant some of the equipment had to be cordoned off so youngsters couldn’t use it.

The damage was estimated at £8,000 but with budgets tight people feared it could take a long time before the play area was fully open again.

Members of the Friends of Springfield Park, which was set up in 2007 to enhance and protect the park, were shocked at the mindless vandalism, especially after they worked so hard to raise money for improvements.

But South Gloucestershire Council has now stepped in to refurbish the damaged equipment, which was carried out in the middle of August.

Friends’ chair Rosie Gosling said: “We’re very pleased the toddler area has been repaired ready for September when the older children go back to school. It means the toddlers have got a nice quiet place to play.

“The park has been quiet over the summer; there’s been a real difference in its usage. A lot of people who heard the park had been vandalised stopped going there during the summer. We want to get the message out that it’s open for business again and hopefully it will get busy once again.

“We hope something like this doesn’t happen again as it’s just not fair on the children who want to use the park.”

Rosie added the Friends of Springfield Park are now looking into more avenues of funding for more equipment.

Councillor Michael Bell (Lab, Rodway) had been working with the Friends to get the park back to its previous glory.

He said: “I very much appreciate the repair and replacement of the equipment by South Gloucestershire Council. This will allow local children to once again have the opportunity to enjoy the facilities of Springfield Park, despite the mindless vandalism of a very small minority. Let’s hope it stays free of further vandalism.”

A South Gloucestershire Council spokesperson said: “The damaged play equipment in Springfield Park has been refurbished and the play area has now reopened.

“The fenced play area is only a small part of the park and the other equipment has been available for use throughout the school holidays including a roundabout, zip wire, tunnel, climbing tree and goals.”

The spokesperson added that the park is locked overnight.

In 2012 the Springfield Park was awarded Queen Elizabeth II status, which means the land is a gift from the monarch to the people and can never be used for development.

The Friends are looking to recruit new members. The presence of a friends group means that access to more funding can be made possible.

If you would like to find out more, please email rosiegosling@yahoo.com