Recreation Ground Skate Park
Now it's Alcatraz!
December 2002 and Alcatraz-style,
3m high, guard fencing is erected around the Skate Park
For the past 18 months many residents living close to Vansittart Skate
Park have been asking for the facility to be moved to Windsor
Leisure Centre where it can be properly supervised. To the residents,
who have had a great deal to put up with since May 2001, comprehensively
reported elsewhere in these pages, this seems common sense, yet
the Borough refuse to accept the logic of this point of view.
Now the locals' frustration is compounded by the erection of
a massive, prison-style, guard fence around the entire skate
area. The thinking behind this very costly exercise is that it
will prevent the use of the park 'out of hours'. Residents are
not convinced in the slightest and are absolutely furious that
such a major expense (in the region of £30,000) has been
We feel for the brave soul who has been charged with
clearing the fenced area each night. He will probably need an
armed escort and will certainly have to endure abuse on every
occasion. Given that the previous arrangement of chains across
the 'half pipes' were not fitted from time to time, it seems
likely that this inept and costly plan will prove to be a very
embarrassing failure. Our prediction is that on regular occasions
youths will find a way over the fence - there is a convenient
tree at one corner to help, with a bollard to get an initial
start, so it is not difficult.
At one corner, a convenient tree
and bollard to assist anyone attempting to enter the skate park
Following a legal ruling concerning
the noise created at this skate park in Oxfordshire, the local
authority was forced to prevent its use by tipping hundreds of
tons of sand over it!
Windsor residents do not actually wholeheartedly
support the tipping of sand over our skate park as we understand
that many teenagers enjoy the sport. However, if nearby residents
are to endure a third year of endless thumps and bangs, especially
in the warmer weather, we would not be in the least surprised
if a lorry load or two turned up!
foiled by locked bollards
It has been reported to us that a fire engine was unable to get
close to a blazing motorbike (stolen and vandalised) earlier
in the autumn of 2002 as the crew had no key to unlock the bollards
installed most nights at the far end of Vansittart Road, at the
entrance to the recreation ground. Although residents had been
reassured that these were Parks Dept. keys and issued to all
emergency services, this particular crew it seems either did
not know about the procedure, or did not have the right key that
night. In any event the result was a delay as the fire appliance
eventually had to drive right around to Goslar Way, parking in
the dual carriageway, and attack the fire from above.
A summary of events
since the summer
In July, a group of individuals, following
a meeting with Mike Jones, RBWM Manager of Parks and Open Spaces,
pledged that they would attempt to halt the degeneration of the
Skate Park and surrounding area and keep the park in good condition.
It will come as no surprise that the situation as
of Decembner 2002 is no better, in recent months the area has
attracted a stolen, blazing motorbike, a fire in the skaters'
newly installed lockers, broken down hedges, fencing and gates,
significantly increased graffiti, damage to property along the
routes to the park and verbal abuse aimed at residents.
The accumulated damage over the summer was attended to
in November, with the video camera eventually being installed
some 15 months after it was first promised.
The graffiti in the adjacent underpass and its approaches
has been added to on an almost daily basis because no funds are
provided to remove it regularly. The area finally received attention
around December 13th. Whatever happened to the reported 24 hour
clean up? As has been said many times before, there is no point
in applying expensive 'easy clean-off protection' if no one comes
to 'easily clean it off'! If graffiti is removed promptly, the
vandals will get bored with the whole idea. This is accepted
as true by those who have studied the problem. At the same time
almost no concerted effort is made to apprehend the vandals.
On the sole occasion when a graffiti vandal was identified, he
received a warning. So he changed his tag!!!
We hear that the other day an elderly gentleman walking
his dog was confronted by a youth who abused him and threatened
to kill his dog.
The police we are told are keeping an eye on the
area from Goslar Way. A check will reveal how impossible this
is without stopping on a derestricted, high-speed, dual carriageway.
Residents throughout this area are now thoroughly
dispirited and angry. Vansittart Road Rec has become an unpleasant
and depressing place to pass through, especially with the advent
of the prison fencing. Residents are close to the end of their
tethers. It really is time something was done. It is time to
remove the skate area to the Leisure Centre where it rightly
The price must be
The Borough must face up to the fact that it costs time and money
to identify the individuals responsible for vandalism and anti-social
behaviour, and more time and money to educate them to become
acceptable members of the community. It does not come cheap.
The alternative is a continued decline into a 'Clockwork Orange'
There can therefore be no improvements in our community whilst
sufficient resources are denied to the three prime groups directly
responsible for law and order: the police, the schools and parents.
It is patently obvious that with current resources
the police are unable to meet all the demands we make on them,
and it is equally obvious that vandals
and thugs will increasingly do as they please
in the absence of any effective form of control.
Schools no doubt do what they can to instill discipline
in their pupils, but even here pressures in other directions
leave little time for education in the finer points of being
a member of a community. This leaves the parents. It is way past
time that parents were required to play their part in ensuring
that their children are not the cause of so much damage and distress,
and if they fail in this duty, society must take the necessary
steps to ensure that they do.
It costs money. We must pay now, or another far less
acceptable price will be paid later.
here - the Borough have claimed in the local press that it should
be removed within 5 days or sooner. Racist or obscene graffiti
should be removed immediately. Please ring again if it is not!!
(Not Saturdays or Sundays)
RBWM Control Room
(Evenings and weekends)