Play area arson

A MOTHER-OF-FOUR has branded an act of vandalism ‘wicked’ and ‘horrible’ after a Nailsea play area was set on fire.

A popular basket swing in the Pound Lane park was destroyed and nearby equipment damaged in the attack during the half-term holidays, causing thousands of pounds of damage.

Denise Houlbrook, aged 47, who lives in the Southfield Road area, said her two young children, who attend Kingshill Primary School, were completely covered in black soot after playing there the next day.

Denise, a member of the friends of the school association, said: ““It was horrible.

“They were in a terrible mess with black stuff everywhere.

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“It is one of their favourite items of equipment and I can’t imagine why someone would do such a wicked and pointless act.

“Especially as being a small town it would have been done by a relative of someone who uses the park.

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“My eldest daughter was 12 when my youngest was born and I know if she was hanging out in the park and saw anyone trying to damage it she would put a stop to it because her brother and sister play there.”

Denise added it was even more annoying because the community ‘fought so hard’ to get the extra play equipment installed last year, funded as part of the Government Playbuilder initiative.

Other parents whose children use the park have called for a higher fence around the play area and a padlocked gate to stop teenagers using it at night.

But Denise feels it would be a ‘terrible shame’ to lock it so no-one could use it after dark.

Instead she would like the headteachers of Nailsea and Backwell secondary schools to talk to pupils and a promised shelter for older children to sit and chat be installed in the park.

A spokesman for North Somerset Council said a replacement for the �2,000 swing was on order, as well as matting for underneath, which will be installed as soon as possible.

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