Published: 12:00, 18 August 2014
A campaign to ensure Medway’s youngsters have somewhere safe to play is drumming up support from councillors and parents.
After a spate of vandalism, developers falling short of commitments and a lack of amenities for youths in certain parts of the Towns, the Messenger launched the Somewhere to Play appeal.
Roseberry Road park in Rochester was one of those to fall victim to vandalism, and ward councillor Sylvia
Griffin (Con) said: “When I was a young girl we used to take ourselves off to the woods for the day with a jam sandwich and that was it, but there’s so much going on now you can’t let young children out of your sight.
“Having a park for people to go to and parents to be able to meet at is very important.
“The council are working to look after these areas but they do not have the resources to police them constantly.”
The Messenger is calling for:
Gary Barwell and his wife Monika dreamed of bringing their 18-month-old daughter up in the safe environment of a Medway village but that was shattered when yobs knocked a neighbour’s son unconscious in The Pastures estate park in Hoo.
Mr Barwell, 36, said: “Our daughter, Lena, wants to go out all the time and she’s climbing the walls if she is in the house.
“Kids need to be out, playing and learning and getting worn out so they sleep through the night.”
The sales engineer has had an ongoing battle with Taylor Wimpey, the developer of the estate, about the park and added: “Developers need to be held to account for these areas, but the council do as well.
“They bang on about how important it is to have these areas before planning permission is granted but take no action when the developers aren’t keeping their promises.
“As well as parks for the younger children, we need to see more for older children and teenagers.
“They shouldn’t be hanging around on baby swings, they ought to have access to multi-sport courts or open spaces to play ball games and ride their bikes in.”
Last week 13-year-old Alex Lucas started a campaign to get such a court built in Upnor, as there is nowhere for the group of 20 children in the area to kick a ball around safely.
His ward councillors Peter Hicks (Con) and Tom Mason (Con) both said they support the campaign and agreed on the importance of somewhere for youngsters to play.
Cllr Hicks said: “For a mulit-sport court you’re looking at something like £80,000, that’s a substantial amount of money.
“But if Mr Lucas would like to write to me I will certainly look more into it.”
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