New play area opens on Bury St Edmunds estate as part of community’s bid to stop teenage vandals

Ernie Broom and Paul Hopfensperger with Luca (three) and Nico (two), on the new play equipment..

Ernie Broom and Paul Hopfensperger with Luca (three) and Nico (two), on the new play equipment..

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A play area has been moved and equipment replaced on a Bury St Edmunds estate, in a £32,500 project to stop vandals.

It is hoped the scheme on the Howard Estate, will stop teenage vandals thought to have been responsible for urinating down the slides and setting light to equipment.

Ernie Broom and Paul Hopfensperger with Luca (three) and Nico (two), on the new play equipment.

Ernie Broom and Paul Hopfensperger with Luca (three) and Nico (two), on the new play equipment.

St Edmundsbury Borough Council has funded the creation of a new play area behind the Newbury Community Centre, in the hope that it will be more family orientated, less isolated and less vulnerable to be attacked.

Ernie Broom, chairman of the Howard Estate Association of Residents and Tenants (HEART), borough Cllr Paul Hopfensperger and borough parks manager Damien Parker worked together on the project.

“It is an absolutely fantastic facility for the children,” said Mr Broom.

“It is great for when they are going to the primary school or have just come out.

“I just hope it is now looked after.

“What I like about it is that a lot of parents are going there with their children.

“It is more of a family facility for younger children than the previous one.”

He said he would have liked to have seen higher fencing and an upper age limit to stop older children out.

“I would like to see the bigger children kept off because it is there for the little ones,” Mr Broom said.

He also suggested the new play area could be locked up at night.

“Hopefully that is something we can look into perhaps with the caretaker at the school if he doesn’t mind,” he said.

“I’m hoping it will be the end of the problems.

“It is nearer the school and the community centre.

“People can see it walking back and forth from the school. What happens at night I don’t know.

“I am really grateful to Damien Parker for coming up with the idea and Paul Hopfensperger for pushing it forward.

“You wait until the summer comes it will be fantastic.”

Cllr Paul Hopfensperger salso welcomed the move, saying the estate had been ‘neglected’.

“I am delighted to have been part of the provision of this play area which I hope will give children under 12 on the Howard Estate many years of enjoyment,” he said.

“The estate has been neglected in recent years, and thanks to Ernie Broom and HEART’s request to me for a new play area, with the aid of Damien Parker and his team at St Edmundsbury we have delivered a fantastic facility which is one of the most modern in the borough”.