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Vansittart Road Recreation Ground Skate Park

Winter 2002/Spring 2003

Now it's Alcatraz!

Alcatraz Security 1

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 entered into.
  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.

Alcatraz Security 2

At one corner, a convenient tree and bollard to assist anyone attempting to enter the skate park after hours.

Sandy 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!

Emergency Services 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 belongs.

The price must be paid...
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' world.
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.

Contact Phone Numbers


01628 796150

Report graffiti 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!!

Telephone Numbers

01753 506000

Office Hours
01628 796468
(Not Saturdays or Sundays)

RBWM Control Room
(Evenings and weekends)
01753 853517


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