Monday, July 03, 2006

Flowerbeds Wrecked by Vandals

Flowerbeds in Broadstairs have become the latest target of vandals, with a spate of attacks over the last few days.

A total of five flowerbeds in Pierremont Park and beds along the High Street have been attacked, with flowers stolen and others ripped out and left on the ground. The vandalism has been almost nightly over the past week and the cost of re-planting them, including labour time, has now topped the £500 mark.

Cllr. Roger Latchford, Cabinet Member for Commercial Services, said: “Our grounds maintenance teams are doing an excellent job of ensuring that the area is at its best as we head towards the height of the summer season, with some superb planting schemes throughout the District. It’s exceptionally frustrating that a mindless minority of yobs are destroying their good work. Not only is it costing money to tackle this vandalism, but what sort of impression does this give to people visiting our area? We want everyone to be able to take pride in Thanet. It’s a beautiful place to live and work in and we want people to feel the same when they visit.”

He added: “Someone must have seen what happened. I would urge anyone with any information to come forward. This is costing taxpayers’ money to repair, as we can’t leave our parks, especially high profile ones in our town centers, in such an appalling state.”


Cllr David Green said...

I'd like to say, I'm with Roger on this one. The Council is making a real effort with the floral displays this year, under difficult circumstances. This sort of mindless vandalism cost money and is very disheartening.

Chris Wells said...

Sadly, there are 2 things working in concert here. Firstly, there are numbers of youths in and around the high street every evening who seem to have little or nowhere to go. Not old enough for pubs, too old for organised youth club activities, where they exist, hanging around looking for some action. Secondly, there is the clear evidence of the longer drinking hours so charmlessly forced on us all by the current government. When the local pubs were granted longer hours last autumn we were all waiting to see what a summer would bring. Even at a time when pubs are struggling, perhaps especially at a time when pubs are struggling and a little less careful than they otherwise would be, there is ample evidence of greater disorder on the streets in broadstairs at night. Students returning from universities in cities elsewhere comment they feel less safe in Broadstairs than in their uni cities. Perhaps my famous quote of rivers of vomit was a little off beam, but the disorder expected and dismissed by licensing committees and magistrates is certainly here and we all suffer for it. Unless it can be tied to a particular pub there is little that can be done. As predicted, the damage coming from opening pandoras box is with us.

Chris Wells
Copuncillor, Viking Ward, Broadstairs

Cllr David Green said...

Not sure what a copuncillor is, but if it means having you cake and eating it, then Chris's comment really takes the biscuit.

I dont buy either boredom, or drunkeness as an excuse for mindless vandalism Chris. You are too ready to point the blame elsewhere, as a County Councillor, you are responsible for Youth provision and local policing.

I hope we can work together on TDC's resorcing of its enforcement structure when we get a response from you Cabinet colleagues?

Dane Valley Ted said...

A couple of things need clarification
1-Is there cctv cover for the area in question.
2-Will it be the same old excuse of difficult Identification because of hoods and hats.
3-Where is the police presence if these incidences occur at roughly the same time and place on a regular basis.

It seems as if the comments here are all about scoring brownie points over each other rather than getting on and doing something about the problems.

Fingers out Gentlemen or you will get voted out.

A. Finch said...

This mindless vandalism is also in Westgate, some of the bizzie lizzies in the flower tubs have been pulled out and taken. Also last night a hanging basket of silk very attractive flowers was stolen from outside the W.W.R.A. headquarters. It seems there is always someone who will spoil the villages no matter hoiw hard we try to keep them nice.

Chris Wells said...

I did not state, nor do I accept, boredom or drunkenness as an excuse or reason for vandalism.However, where such elements are contributing factors, we should recognise them for the additional burdens they give us.

To answer the more honest points from Dane Valley Ted, there is CCTV around the park. The pictures are to an extent obscured by the trees. The police have commented on more than one occasion that cutting back the trees would be an asset to CCTV usage. The Town council and TDC have thus far always disagreed. Hoodies or not are irrelevant compared to this fundamental issue of clear vision versus trees. I will not comment for obvious reasons on police deployment and the conversations that surround it, however it would be true to say that there are now more police deployed in Broadstairs than perhaps ever before, and it is the scene of many incidents related to anti social behaviour just now.

When there is a community centre in the park there will be additional CCTV coverage and the extended use of the centre by other groups will populate the park more effectively and reduce opportunity for vandalism to an extent. That too is currently held up by issues relating to trees and local objections, many from those who suffer most from the anti social behaviour within the park. The police liaison officer refused to recognise these elements when he reported on the planning application labelling the centre a potential crime and disorder generator. Wonder what he blames the current difficulties on, then?

The centre could provide additional youth activities as well. For now, we must be vigilant, and not fall into the point scoring trap, but all do our best to tackle the problem wherever we can.

Chris Wells
Councillor, Viking Ward

Dane Valley Ted said...

Thank you for the answers chris.
I know that it is not all about brownie points.
I realise that running Thanet is a big job and it is easy for an individual to want action on a single issue,but nothing is as simple as we think.