Vandalism has further delayed the delivery of major improvements to the popular Lawn Road play area in the Boyatt Wood area of Eastleigh.
The latest spate of wilful damage – which was carried out at night on Tuesday (30 November) or in the early hours of Wednesday - has seen foundation layers of the new safety surfacing torn up, before the rubber mulch had time to set.
The Lawn Road scheme has been plagued by vandalism over the past year, with costs to remedy the damage running into thousands: the destruction includes an expensive basket swing being wrecked and the walls of a new climbing structure deliberately pushed over, more than once, midway through construction. There has also been theft of materials. The project has been delayed by other factors, including supply chain problems and contractors being hit by COVID.
The Eastleigh Local Area Committee, which is delivering the play area improvements, has now placed a night-time security presence on-site, something that will add significantly to the final cost of the project. The timeline for delivery of the play area has also been extended and it is unlikely that it will be finished in time for Christmas, as originally hoped.
The Chair of the Eastleigh Local Area Committee, Councillor Alex Bourne, said: “It is hugely disappointing that a few mindless vandals are determined on destroying what should be a high quality and popular facility for children in the Lawn Road area – and bringing additional costs to local taxpayers. We know that residents in the neighbourhood will want to see an end to this wilful destruction of a local amenity and we would appeal to anyone with any information to share it with the police by calling 101, or via the Hampshire Constabulary website”.