Play area torched after £50k revamp

The damaged equipment
The damaged equipment

Furious Wigan parents have slammed arsonists who torched a newly-refurbished children’s play area.

Residents in the Beech Hill area, along with Wigan Council, have condemned the actions of the unknown offenders, who set fire to the Gidlow Lane playground over the weekend.

Back in March the area was granted a makeover with £50,000 allocated by the council from section 106 money pumped in by developers to help with community improvements.

The revamp included the replacement of the junior and toddle multi-play unit as well as a new swing set with two flat and two cradle swings, a log traverse, a see-saw and two new roundabouts.

The old aerial zip wire was also replaced.

Parents have been quick to voice their dismay following the incident, which has incinerated part of the slide set and a small climbing area.

People took to social media to condemn the anti-social behaviour, John Ryding said: “That’s the mentality of the youth of today absolutely unbelievable...no respect for anything or anyone and you can’t blame all parents some people are good parents and don’t do what you’re implying.

“It’s down to mindless ignorant kids with total lack of respect, fact. No discipline, that’s the top and bottom of it.”

Lorraine Wilding, who takes her grandson to the area to play, added: “ Absolutely shocking, hope they get caught, and get punished for this mindless destruction, my little grandson loves this play area, it’s a real shame that mindless morons do this.”

While Maureen Dawson added: “Mindless vandalism. Where has the respect gone for other people’s property. It was unthinkable for us to even think about doing something like this. Boundaries and discipline seem to have disappeared. So sad.”

Paul Barton, assistant director for environment, said: “It’s a real shame that a small number of people have chosen to damage their local facilities in this way.

“The park is now secured and has been made safe. We are working hard to bring it back into use so that local families can continue to enjoy the park again.”

Speaking back in March, Coun Jenny Bullen Wigan Council’s cabinet member for leisure, that she was “delighted” to see money going into the Gidlow Lane play area, and that the improved facilities would be a good way to encourage youngsters to stay fit, healthy and active by playing outdoors.