Over 12s ban at Bury St Edmunds play area following vandalism highlights lack of teenage facilities

Paul Hopfensberger and Ernie Broom with Luca (3) and Nico (2), on the new play equipment by the Newbury Community Centre on the Howard Estate in Bury.
Paul Hopfensberger and Ernie Broom with Luca (3) and Nico (2), on the new play equipment by the Newbury Community Centre on the Howard Estate in Bury.

The lack of facilities for teenagers on the Howard estate has been highlighted at a meeting this week.

The Howard Estate Association of Residents and Tenants (HEART) discussed the problem of older children vandalising a new play area on Monday night.

The area has been moved closer to the Newbury Community Centre in May at a cost of £32,500, after ongoing vandalism of equipment close to the back of Beetons Lodge.

But Monday night’s meeting heard that the new area has already been vandalised and littered.

Now St Edmundsbury Borough Council is to put in age limit signs banning over 12s from playing on the equipment – although the HEART meeting also heard the restrictions would be unenforceable. A bin will also be put inside the area.

But Suffolk County and St Edmundsbury Borough Cllr Mark Ereira urged the association not to put the sign up.

“There are 15 people on that playground now and they are all over 12. We have got to come up with some other things that thes young people can do,” he said at Monday night’s meeting.

But fellow county and borough Cllr David Nettleton said: “I agree that you need to do something for the over 12s but it is equipment that is being damaged.”

The meeting also heard that funding from councils toward youth club facilities has been withdrawn.