Continuing vandalism in Fox Hollies Park.
I went for my usual early morning walk today with Alfie, my little Yorkie. I decided to walk in Fox Hollies park. Some of the people who read my blog will know I am expecting a number of enthusiastic volunteers to turn up on Saturday 24th May, to have a pick up litter day. Yay!
I walked down from Shirley Road towards the bridge over Westley Brook and as I did so, I could clearly see that a number of lamp posts that line the walkway from Oakhurst Road through the park and up to Pool Farm Road have been pulled down, smashed up and scattered over the parkland. I am so upset. A friend I was walking with said to me, “I think you`re on to a loser with your litter pick bab,” and I could see why. Then I got talking to some locals and these are some of the comments they came out with…..
“I live on the outskirts of the park, I got so fed up with kids smashing my garden fence up and burning the wood in the litter bins, I had to install steel palisade fences to keep them out.”
Palisade fences are designed for security, they have metal barbs on the top. In fact if you stroll around the park you will see that a number of homes have had to have this kind of fencing erected, it reminds me of a war zone and not a family park.
Another gentleman I spoke to said,
“Good on you for doing something to bring this to everyone`s attention, the police don`t want to know. It isn`t safe to walk here now.”
Last Friday afternoon I took myself for a stroll at the Gospel Lane end of the park and a boy in a hoody, on a bright blue and shiny new quad bike, drove straight at me and a group of mums who were sitting quietly playing with their kids. I spoke to some people about it before I went home, shaken and very angry. They say the police don`t want to know.
Back to the lamp posts…..
If I knock a lamp post down with my car, my insurance company would have to pay out close on £1,500 to have it put up again. The lamp posts in the park are entirely destroyed. The electricity company responsible for their power had to be called out in the middle of the night to make them safe. I`ve just spoken with them, they tell me it will cost Birmingham tax payers` approximately £10,000 to replace the lamp posts and this is additional to the fee incurred last night in making them safe. The company said that they would discuss something much more robust with Birmingham City Council which will of course cost a lot more money. They said if the police don`t want to know, what hope do local residents have? They said that they view this as a deliberate act, designed to intimidate the local community and enable various nefarious activities to go on under cover of darkness. It would take a long time to pull down five lamp posts, it isn`t an easy task so where were the police? Several calls were made to them.
WHAT`S TO BE DONE?
Here are some of the suggestions the local people commented to me this morning…..
The park should have wardens and the police should be on standby to take a call from them.
The park should be security fenced all round, gated and locked at night.
The grounds should be left to grow wild, with just narrow pathways mown for people out walking, this would discourage kids on quads and motorbikes.
Kids who are caught offending should be sent to the army or a boot camp.
We could set up a vigilante group and patrol the parks ourselves.
I want to know – if West Midlands Police are not taking this seriously, then why aren`t they? If we allow this kind of activity to continue, someone will be hurt.
If you`d like to show the local young criminals that we will not be intimidated and let them destroy our parks, come and join us picking up litter on Saturday the 24th at 11am. We are meeting at Gospel Lane car park