Work continues to improve playing fields - despite vandals' best efforts

March 27 2018

PLANS to "vandal-proof" an open space in Downend following a recent attack on Pomphrey Hill faced a set back - by vandals.

PLANS to "vandal-proof" an open space in Downend following a recent attack on Pomphrey Hill faced a set back - by vandals.

Locals were devastated after a vehicle created a mud bath when it was recently driven across three sports fields at the popular site in Mangotsfield.

As well as causing thousands of pounds of damage, it meant hundreds of youngsters who take part in matches there every week would be left without anywhere to play for the foreseeable future.

Fearful this could happen in King George V Park, Downend and Bromley Heath Parish Council set about replacing the old fencing in the Westerleigh Road car park and installing new gates to prevent vehicles getting onto the park.

But before the work was even completed, "mindless" vandals struck again.

Councillor Jon Hunt, who represents the ward of Downend, said the work had now been completed and the park was secure.

He added that although the vandalism could be considered minor, it still caused problems for all concerned.

Cllr Hunt, who is also a parish councillor, said: "This (the work) was considered as urgent and important given the events at Pomphrey Hill recently. 

"It took two days to install the new fencing. But on the first night some of the posts that had been out in by the contractor had been broken and knocked down. Fortunately as they were completing the project the next day they could rectify this and the fencing was completed on time."

Cllr Hunt took to Twitter to express his concern. His post said: "I was hoping for a positive post about the new fencing in King George V car park which will make the park safer for children playing and protect the park from motor vehicles. Unfortunately though this was vandalised last night while still being installed. #ASB"

Cllr Hunt told Downend Voice: "I was highlighting how these episodes of ASB (anti-social behaviour) continue regardless of how minor, but are always an inconvenience. 

"This has been a reoccurring problem in Downend over several months now. There was no reason for the fencing to be attacked except for mindless petty vandalism." 

The incident comes after South Gloucestershire Council announced a £450k investment in open spaces and sports facilities.

The money, raised from house-builders’ contributions to local infrastructure, will be distributed to local groups and parish councils after the authority handed responsibility to them for the upkeep of sports pitches and pavilions last April.

As part of the windfall, Downend and Bromley Heath Parish Council will receive more than £79,000 to help fund the construction of a new changing room pavilion on the King George V playing fields. The existing pavilion has been well used by the community, and is need of replacement. 

Plans include four changing rooms with showers, lockers outside the changing facilities so that changing facilities can be used by more than one group, toilets for the public that are separate from the changing area, officials changing area, club room, kitchen and an office.

There will also be a bar, storage and an outside covered area with power points for community groups such as Men in Sheds and Downend & Bromley Heath in Bloom to use.

Cllr Hunt said: "The old pavilion is a bit tumbledown now, the paint is peeling, and it is just showing its age. I’m so pleased we have been able to secure this funding so that we can work together with the parish council and build something bigger and better to breathe new life into the playing fields and make them an attractive place for teams to play sports."

The parish council is also investigating revamping the pavilion at Bromley Heath Park and is looking into pursuing funding for the work.

Plans for the pavilion at Bromley Heath include two changing rooms with showers, toilets for the public that are separate from the changing area, accessible toilets and changing facilities, changing area for officials, small club room /recreational multi-purpose space and kitchen.

Other local groups to benefit from council cash include Frenchay Cricket Club and Downend and Frenchay Tennis Club, which are both located at the Bob Stone Ground in Frenchay. They will receive around £4,000 each. This will allow the tennis club to install new 'access for all' electronic gates and the cricket club to buy new sight screens - which are used to help batsmen see the ball better.