Skate park causes anti social' row

PUBLISHED: 12:28 12 October 2006 | UPDATED: 13:33 04 May 2010

ANTI-social behaviour is soaring on an Ely estate as a vehemently opposed skate park nears completion. The Friends of St John s Road Playing Field group has reported a rise in vandalism as the workmen s security fences have been taken down at the newly-co

ANTI-social behaviour is soaring on an Ely estate as a vehemently opposed skate park nears completion.

The Friends of St John's Road Playing Field group has reported a rise in vandalism as the workmen's security fences have been taken down at the newly-constructed £80,000 skate park.

Chairman of the association Art Kelleway said: "Anti-social behaviour is definitely increasing at the park - fences and walls are being knocked down and there have been disturbances until two in the morning.

"We said this would happen and sure enough, it has."

The association fought the district council about the skate park from its earliest stage, and Mr Kelleway said teenagers have been seen careering around the estate on mini motorbikes and that residents have been bitterly disappointed by the police response.

"We've reported things to the police and it doesn't seem to make any difference - they've said we can text the CCTV operators, but the response we've had from the police is not as good as we would have hoped," he said.

An anonymous caller to the Ely Standard warned this week that residents' anger was reaching boiling point, and that individuals have been threatening to take the law into their own hands and demolish the new facilities.

Mr Kelleway has condemned this kind of behaviour as irresponsible.

"This has not come from any of our members - there's a process of law which we must follow and we will follow it.

"The skate park is presentable enough and we want facilities for young people but it has to be in the right place - they are taking away a piece of ground that was used by young children and families."

Sector inspector Adam Gallop said police presence has been intensified following complaints from residents.

"I appreciate there may be some problems with anti-social behaviour or disorder, which residents in St John's Road are naturally concerned about," he said.

"I can assure them that we have a long-term action plan in place to deal with those issues, and will deal robustly with anyone found committing anti-social or criminal acts.

"I understand that some local residents are concerned about anti-social behaviour that may come as a result of the skate park. For this reason we will continue to monitor the park as a priority area, with the assistance of CCTV.

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