Saturday, October 21, 2006

Plummers Hill Field

Plummers Hill Field:

The issues with this large open public space were drawn to our attention by local people horrified at the amount of fly-tipping, vandalism and antisocial behaviour associated with the field in recent months. The effect of this and the lack of imaginative use has been to put local people off enjoying its benefits.

In September we contacted the council on behalf of the residents. In particular to clear up a disgusting unhygienic ‘den’ including an abandoned boat which was attracting crowds of youngsters indulging in under age drinking and minor arson. See the picture.

Assistant Community Park Manager (East) Bristol Parks, Claire Adams gave us this reply on the 4th of October 2006. “On 27 September I asked our contractors to clear the den and any flytip from Plummers Hill O/s. I have also arranged for the BMX ramps, which have been dug in the park to be levelled and made safe. Youths digging holes in the park for bike ramps has become a new problem for us across the East of Bristol and is being reported to the ASB team. Currently we are filling in the holes and making the area safe as soon as the holes are seen or reported. It is very disappointing that the police are observing but taking no action.”

The council acted promptly to our report and have also put additional gates at the entrance to Plummers Hill to stop motorbikes from being driven in. (Picture, Angelo talking to local youngsters who have ideas for a five aside pitch.)

(Update 26/10/06) Sadly there have been recurring problems with the availability of the key to the gate. A couple of months ago hooligans started a fire and emergency services were unable to access the field and only the other day a council contractor drove in to cut the grass and left the gate locked in the wide open position. Residents from the nearby estate have suggested that a ‘responsible tenant’ should hold a key to avoid these sorts of issues in the future.

We are hopeful that the new ‘Friends of St Georges Park Group’ will adopt this open space and that local residents will campaign for improvements. A little ‘under age thinking’ gave us the idea that a simple 5 a side football pitch marked out in the small field would encourage local children and their parents to make more use of the space. Perhaps this could be linked by the city parks review into some sort of little league like the ones on the Downs. Other ideas are more community events in the field to encourage community participation and discourage yobbish behaviour.

(Update 20/11/2006) There are continuing problems with motorbikes etc. getting in to the fields. There are currently five entrances including the unofficial one through the hedge at Naseby Walk.

We have been told by the police beat manager PC Ben Sullivan that funding has been secured for a permanent gate to block the Cecil Avenue entrance. The council also agreed back in February this year to fence off the Naseby Walk entrance.

PC Sullivan shares our frustration that these pending improvements to our security are taking so long for the council to implement, especially bearing in mind the extra costs resulting from the on going vandalism, fly-tipping and wasting of police time.