District Council reaches out to residents to help protect our parks

Posted on: Friday, May 24, 2024

Newark and Sherwood District Council is cracking down on vandalism and anti-social behaviour following a spate of incidents at parks across the district and is asking residents for their help protecting our much-loved parks.

Following recent incidents of vandalism at Sconce and Devon Park, which included damage to fences and the new community orchard, Vicar Water Country Park and Sherwood Avenue Park in Newark have also been targeted by vandals this past week.

Severe fire damage was reported at Green Flag Award-winning Vicar Water Country Park on the park’s heathland over the weekend, and in the same area graffiti had been scratched onto the mount of a sculpture that has recently been installed as part of the District Council’s involvement in the Time to Connect Arts Trail.

On Tuesday morning the District Council’s Street Scene Team then found Sherwood Avenue Park had been defaced with offensive and graphic graffiti. They discovered the vandalism during a routine daily inspection and worked to quickly remove it.

Councillor Paul Taylor, Portfolio Holder for Public Protection and Community Relations at Newark and Sherwood District Council, said: “I am deeply disappointed by these recent incidents of vandalism. Not only does it blight our communities, but in the case of the fire damage it is extremely dangerous, for both park visitors and wildlife, and could have had devastating effects.

“The selfish individuals who think they are above the law and common decency must be stopped and made to face the consequences of their actions. We are working with our partners from the Police to investigate the various incidents and Vicar Water Country Park has been added to our Community Protection Officers targeted patrols. We have also reached out to the schools in the local area to help us in our investigations and they will be contacting parents and carers about the incidents.

The District Council is committed to enhancing Newark and Sherwood’s natural environment and improving the health and wellbeing of residents, and work to achieve this includes improvement and investments into the districts parks. Due to the continuous efforts of the Council’s teams, park rangers, community groups and volunteers four parks in the district have retained their prestigious Green Flag status for a number of years, with the Queen Elizabeth Memorial Garden also joining that list in 2023.

Almost £350,000 was also invested in the district’s play parks during 2023, all towards installing new, imaginative pieces of play equipment including inclusive equipment, refurbishing the current equipment, and the removal and replacement of various aging equipment.

The proposed plans for the upcoming refurbishment of Sherwood Avenue Park have also been unveiled this year, with the District Council and Newark Town Council working together to reach out to the local community to have their thoughts and ideas shape the plans for the park’s future.

Councillor Taylor continues: “So many people work extremely hard to protect, improve and maintain our parks and green spaces, from our officers and park rangers to local community groups and volunteers. We want these to remain safe and welcoming spaces for residents and visitors, and also for the nature and wildlife that call our parks home.

“I urge resident to help us keep our community spaces and parks safe by always reporting any incidents of ASB or crime to us or the Police.”