Long Grove Park - proposed overnight closure - committee report

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					LEISURE COMMITTEE                                                                  ITEM 08
31 JANUARY 2005


Report of the:                               Director of Operations
Contact:                                     Jon Gransden
Urgent Decision?(yes/no)                     No
If yes, reason urgent decision required:     N/A
Annexes/Appendices (attached):               None
Other available papers (not attached):       None stated.

This report seeks approval to the closure of Long Grove Park overnight for a trial

That Long Grove Park is closed overnight for a trial period
during April and May 2005.

1   Implications for Community Strategy and Council’s Key Priorities

    1.1    These proposals will contribute to improving the quality of the environment and
           reducing anti-social behaviour.

2   Implications for Committee’s Key Service Priorities

    2.1    These proposals contribute to improving the standards in open spaces.

3   Introduction

    3.1    Long Grove Park opened in April 2004 and incorporates a children' playground
           and a skateboarding area. The park is left unlocked overnight as current policy is
           that Epsom parks are left unlocked.

    3.2    Since the park was opened it has, on numerous occasions, been subject to graffiti,
           particularly in the play area and skateboard park, but more seriously the
           skateboard area was recently the subject of considerable vandalism costing
           approximately £4k to repair.

    3.3    The Local Neighbourhood Support Officer has recommended that the park be
           closed overnight, and this has also been raised at the JAG (Joint Action Group)
           meeting with the police and other agencies.

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LEISURE COMMITTEE                                                                   ITEM 08
31 JANUARY 2005

4   Proposals

    4.1   It is felt that closing the park overnight could stop the continuing vandalism and
          graffiti. However, it must be recognised that, although there is palisade fencing
          around the park, this will not stop someone determined to get in. The skate park
          is also very well used and there may be difficulties for the Rangers in getting users
          to leave in order that they are able to lock the park.

    4.2   It is therefore proposed that locking the park should take place for a trial period
          starting in April, once the lighter evenings have started, and continue until the end
          of May. It is then intended to present the findings to the June meeting of this
          Committee as part of the wider report examining the whole issue of locking and
          unlocking parks in the Borough.

5   Financial and Manpower Implications

    5.1   The overnight locking of the park can be added to the Rangers existing schedule
          for locking and unlocking parks, but will extend the time taken to complete this
          task. The opening of the parks each morning takes 1 Ranger approximately 1½
          hours depending on traffic, the closing takes 2 Rangers 2 hours, although this can
          take considerably longer during the summer months. This locking and unlocking
          takes place 7 days a week and has the effect of reducing the amount of Ranger
          time available for other duties within the parks. As noted above it is intended to
          examine this issue in greater depth and report back to the June meeting of this

6   Economic Well-being, Human Rights and Other Legal Implications

    6.1   None for the purposes of this report.

7   Environmental and Social Well-being

    7.1   The purpose of locking the park for a trial period will hopefully reduce the
          instances of graffiti and anti-social behaviour and improve the overall
          environment for all users of the park.

8   Risk Assessment and Conclusions

    8.1   There is no guarantee that locking Long Grove Park overnight will stop the
          vandalism and graffiti, but it is considered that a trial run over a 2 month period
          during summer time hours will show what effect if any there is, which will enable
          Members to make a more informed decision.

WARD(S) AFFECTED: Court and Stamford.

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