The Repington Road play park in Sneyd Green was hit by another wave of destruction at the weekend.
The park opened in June 2009 after several years of fund-raising by Holden Lane Residents' Association. But three years after it was built, dismayed residents claim it is "wrecked", with smashed bottles littering the site, graffiti on the equipment and youths gathering at the park to intimidate users.Naturally, this is all someone else’s fault and someone else’s responsibility:
Residents' association chairman John Reynolds, aged 48, from Brocklehurst Way, said: "We raised half a million pounds to build that park and look at the state of it.
"In my opinion, Sneyd Green has become a forgotten estate."You raised the money to build the infrastructure, but did nothing to change the nature of the people using that infrastructure, and expected it to be used properly?
When The Sentinel visited the park yesterday, youths, below, were seen riding round on a motorbike, swearing at visitors.I wonder if they or their parents are known to Mr Reynolds? I wonder if he'd do anything about it if they were?
Councillor Andy Platt, Stoke-on-Trent City Council cabinet member for city services, said: "We are not aware of concerns from members of the public about the park, but are always happy to listen and investigate issues if residents get in touch.
"Residents are welcome to form a friends group, too, to help us build a stronger working relationship with their needs. "The park is regularly maintained, with grass cutting, litter picking, bin emptying and sweeping."What more can you expect a council to do?
Mr Platt added: "We are aware of an incident of vandalism last weekend, and teams worked quickly to inspect the site, make equipment safe and clear debris.
"The matter has been reported to the police and we urge anyone with information to contact the police directly."And have they?
Sgt Phillip Ferns, of Stoke North Local Policing Team, said: "We continue to work closely with our partners, especially Stoke-on-Trent City Council, and the wider community, to resolve any local issues and tackling anti social behaviour."I suspect the answer’s ‘no’.
Perhaps Mr Reynolds would like to start talking to his fellow residents and the police a little more, and the newspapers a little less? Perhaps that might do more to sort out the problems than whinging that someone else ought to step in and fix things?