City council called to task on Happy Mount Park vandals

Happy Mount Park volunteers; chairman Simon Lewis, chief designer Colin Hobbs and committee member Jonathan Lewis with some of the 120 plastic shields that were protecting newly planted hawthorn hedges, but have been ripped out by vandals.
Happy Mount Park volunteers; chairman Simon Lewis, chief designer Colin Hobbs and committee member Jonathan Lewis with some of the 120 plastic shields that were protecting newly planted hawthorn hedges, but have been ripped out by vandals.
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Happy Mount Park is being trashed and will be ruined for everyone unless serious action is taken, says a dedicated volunteer.

Landscape gardener Simon Lewis, who spends hours of his own time tending to the park in Bare village, has demanded CCTV and even a nightwatchman to catch vandals in the act.

Mr Lewis, chair of a group of volunteers said the culprits have:

*Wrecked a bike-powered waterfall feature

*Hurled branches, bricks and concrete into the park ponds and smashed a concrete frog to pieces

*Ripped up 120 hawthorns planted around the park perimeter

*Snapped apple trees

*Damaged fences around the play area

Mr Lewis has challenged park owners Lancaster City Council to take strong action, saying his pleas for help are falling on deaf ears.

“It’s getting ridiculous and enough is enough,” he said.

“It seems destruction is the way forward these days. This is a very important park and it’s being trashed. It’s time the council found some funding.”

The bike-powered waterfall was closed in February after vandals targeted it 20 times in two years. Police are investigating. David Croston, park volunteer, said it will reopen with a handle-operated mechanism.

Cameron Seddon, Mayor of Bare, said youths had also also run amok in Princes Crescent, overturning flower tubs and pulling out plants.June Ashworth, councillor for Bare, said council officers would meet with volunteers.

Coun Ron Sands, Cabinet member with responsibility for tourism and young people, said: “It is with regret that we hear of another spate of vandalism in Happy Mount Park. The park is a tremendous local asset enjoyed by a large number of local families and visitors throughout the year and a facility we should all take pride in.

“It’s a great shame that a minority get a thrill out of ruining it for everyone else and an insult to the hard work and dedication of those who have worked so tirelessly over the last few years to make significant improvements to the park.

“Council officers have arranged to meet with the volunteer group to discuss the most effective and affordable way forward in deterring future vandalism in the park.

“In the meantime, we would urge anyone with information about those responsible for acts of vandalism in the park to contact the police so they can be caught.”