Appeal to stamp out ‘costly’ vandalism to Easebourne play area

An Easebourne parish councillor has appealed for help to tackle ‘unwelcome and costly’ vandalism after a series of attacks on the new play park.

Ian Milne told the Observer: “I am seeking support from fellow Midhurst and Easebourne parishioners to look out for the perpetrators of low-level damage being caused to this new park.”

He said the recently opened community space received much praise from villagers for its innovative play equipment and community inclusion provision.

“Unfortunately, there have been numerous cases of damage inflicted on safety signs, pond protection fencing, rubbish bins, pulling up of newly planted flower protection canes, and attempts to start a fire using a smashed pallet – doubtless by a small majority of uncaring youths.”

The police had been informed, said Mr Milne, and additional security measures had been implemented aimed at identifying the vandals.

But he appealed to “all responsible adults to assist in discouraging this unwelcome and costly vandalism.”

Nearly 400 people turned out for the official opening of the play park at the start of September when children from Easebourne Primary School and Conifers helped carry out the opening ceremony. And there was universal praise as youngsters had their first chance to try out the innovative new equipment and hundreds of people gathered for a picnic with cakes a goodie bags provided by the parish council.

It had been several years in the planning but the ground breaking facilities included the traditional element of zip wires, slides and trampolines together with innovative wooden dens for youngsters to explore.

The £130,00 cost of the first phase was met by funds set aside by the parish council as well as numerous grants. Parish councillors are already looking at ideas for phases 2 and 3 and have in the mean time carried out a massive planting scheme.

But there was heartbreak when less than a month after it opened it was attacked by vandals who rode motorbikes around churning up the grass and leaking oil. Signs were ripped up, bent and thrown across the pond and other carved signs were smashed.

“This is disappointing,” said parish council chairman Mike Noble at the time, “this is so new and everyone loves it. We all know how much time and effort has gone into creating it.”