Bad behaviour has eased at park gym

The children's gym at the park
The children's gym at the park

A Wigan park is no longer a hotspot for anti-social behaviour after it was monitored for a full year, council bosses say.

Gangs of youths were reported to have started causing trouble at Alexandra Park in Newtown, after new outdoor gym equipment was installed at the edge of the park last year.

Representatives for the Douglas ward alleged that the new facilities had been put in the wrong place and had become a magnet for youths causing trouble.

Residents on Victoria Street, which faces the park, reported seeing groups of people drinking, damaging fences put up around the equipment, and causing children using the nearby play area to feel intimidated.

But council bosses now say the problems seem to have eased after they monitored the area for a full year.

“Penny McGinty, assistant director of corporate contracts and assets at Wigan Council said: “There are real benefits to installing gym equipment in our parks as they are free to use and encourage residents to keep fit and healthy.

“We have taken the concerns on board and did look at possible alternative locations.

“However, after a full survey of the park, we decided to leave the gym equipment in its current location and monitor the anti-social behaviour for 12 months.

“Since then, there have been no further reports of anti-social behaviour around the installation, and we have received some really positive feedback about the equipment in Alexandra Park.

“We have retained our Green Flag status and will continue to work with residents to monitor the area, as we want the use of the park to be an enjoyable experience for everybody.”

Different areas of the park have also been plagued by vandalism and anti-social behaviour in recent months.

It was recently targeted by vandals who damaged the park’s skate ramps by covering them in obscene graffiti, which included a swastika.

The offensive scrawls led to calls to CCTV to be installed at the park to curb further criminal damage.

Despite this, Alexandra Park was one of four in the borough to be given the Green Flag Award in July, making it one of the best green spaces in the UK.