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Buckie play park vandals slammed by councillor

By Alan Beresford

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VANDALS targetting play parks in Buckie have been slammed by a local councillor.

Councillor Sonya Warren, pictured here with grandaughter Aniyah Grant, has slammed the vandalism at Ian Johnston Park and other play parks in Buckie. Picture: Daniel Forsyth
Councillor Sonya Warren, pictured here with grandaughter Aniyah Grant, has slammed the vandalism at Ian Johnston Park and other play parks in Buckie. Picture: Daniel Forsyth

A spate of acts of destruction throughout the town has seen equipment at Ian Johnston Park, Merson Park and the play area at Buckpool Harbour damaged or destroyed.

The pavilion at Linzee Gordon Park, which is run by the Buckie Classic Car Show group, has also been damaged.

Buckie councillor Sonya Warren has branded the acts "mindless".

She said: "The new equipment at Ian Johnston Park has been vandalised while ropes and so on at Merson Park are constantly being cut, bolts and screws removed, making the equipment potentially dangerous for others to use.

"The swing seat at Buckpool Harbour, which was the result of fund-raising by Buckpool Harbour Community Group, has been broken and there's been damage done the Linzee Gordon Park pavilion roof.

"In the case of Ian Johnston Park and Merson Park the repairs are the responsibility of Moray Council, which means it Council Tax payers' money which has to be spent. The council has very limited funds in the repairs and maintenance budget for parks hence not all equipment in local authority parks can be replaced immediately.

"Vandalism also means other young people are having to go without being able to play on all the equipment in the play parks.

"It must have been devastating for those groups who worked so hard to fund-raise to buy play equipment. It's terrible to see the mindless disregard that some of the young people have for play equipment."

Last summer saw brand new play equipment installed at Ian Johnston Park, most of the previous equipment having come to the end of its working life. The space net and a set of cradle swings will remained and were refurbished.

The revamp was funded to the tune of £43,000 by the Scottish Government’s Town Centre Regeneration Fund.

More than 20 different play elements were installed, including swings, a climbing frame, see-saw and zipline. There is also accessible equipment so all children can enjoy the park.

Councillor Warren said that the play park vandalism was part of a wider anti-social behaviour issue in the area.

"It's sad that it doesn't stop at the selfish destruction of play equipment though," she continued.

"There have been so many reports of anti-social behaviour of late. Many of the children concerned are not that old which is equally concerning. Hopefully every parent, grandparent or guardian will speak to their youngsters about what is happening.

"As a community we all have a part to play in setting standards and teaching right from wrong. I would hate to see this sort if stuff escalating further and some young people landing up in trouble with police."

The ongoing vandal attacks and resultant damage done to the Linzee Gordon Park pavilion has left the trustees in despair.

Buckie Classic Car Show chairman John Clark, who is also a pavilion trustee, said: "We entered a management agreement with Moray Council for the pavilion at Linzee Gordon Park and it's our intention to put the pavilion back into use again.

"However, due to pandemic we've not been able to start yet.

"It was disheartening to see again the pavilion vandalised and we're actually thinking why do we bother putting the pavilion back into use spending our own monies when it gets vandalised nearly every weekend?"

The pavilion has provided facilities, including toilets, for many community events at the park, such as the car show. The group are hoping to return with their extravaganza of classic cars on August 29, Covid regulations permitting.

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