Bradley Stoke Town Council (BSTC) has been landed with a near £1,000 bill after electricity cables powering floodlights around the hard court at the Brook Way Activity Centre were “maliciously” severed.
The cables, which run around the perimeter of the court in plastic ducting encased in a concrete shroud, were seen to have been cut in at least four places when a Journal reporter visited the site in early December.
The damage is understood to have followed a period of friction between the youth club based at the centre and residents of neighbouring properties.
One resident of a property in The Common told The Journal that he and his neighbours have been annoyed by the much-increased use of the floodlights at the centre since the youth club moved in earlier in the year but he denied any involvement in the damage incident.
The resident also complained of a big increase in anti-social behaviour around the centre, saying that young people often stayed around to consume alcohol on the site after the club had closed. He also claimed that youngsters from the club had engaged in sexual activity and drug misuse in the bushes at the back of the hard court, which are overlooked by his property.
Asked to confirm the damage incident, the Town Council provided the following statement on 10th December:
“BSTC confirm that a serious incident of criminal damage occurred at the Brook Way Activity Centre, in which the electricity cable powering the floodlights around the artificial pitch was maliciously severed, overnight on 21st/22nd November 2010.”
“The matter has been reported to Avon and Somerset Police who are investigating.”
A police spokesperson confirmed that an investigation was underway and The Journal understands that officers have spoken with residents of neighbouring properties in The Common.
Anyone with any information about the incident is asked to contact officers at Filton police station on 0845 456 7000 or call the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
The press, public and youth club leaders were excluded from a discussion about “Anti-social behaviour at Brook Way Activity Centre” at a meeting of the Town Council’s Leisure, Youth & Amenities Committee on 13th December but the draft minutes show that it was agreed that the Council’s Premises Manager be instructed to “look at the site usage with the impact on surrounding areas and other site users”.
A proposal by Cllr Brian Hopkinson that £238 be spent on shielding two of the floodlights around the artifical pitch failed to gained sufficient support.
A recent visit to the site by a Journal reporter confirmed that the damaged cabling has now been repaired and additional green netting installed on fencing on the side of the hard court closest to The Common.
More info: Site plan (Google Maps) showing youth club, hard court and neighbouring properties.
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