Council’s tough talk over recovering arson repair costs comes to nought

Photo of fire damage to the cradle swing.
Fire damage to the cradle swing at the Beacon Play Area on Jubilee Green.

The final cost of repairing damage caused by an arson attack earlier this year at the Beacon Play Area on Jubilee Green was just over £1,900, the Journal can reveal.

Staff at the adjacent Jubilee Centre became aware of a fire within the play area at around 9.20pm on Thursday 6th May 2021 and immediately called the fire brigade. On arrival, firefighters used an aquapack and a bucket of water to extinguish the fire. It was concluded that the cause was deliberate, and the incident was reported to police the next day.

A strongly worded statement put out by the town council’s press officer, Cllr Tom Aditya, on 7th May estimated the value of the damage at “nearly £3,000” adding that “most of the councillors and council staff” were minded to “charge the people involved liable for the financial damages and save the responsible tax-payers”.

Kitchen & Laundry Appliance Care, Bradley Stoke, Bristol.

A video of the vandalism being carried out is said to have been posted on social media shortly after the incident and the council’s statement suggested that a “group of teenagers” were responsible for the damage. It was also reported on a local Facebook group that the mother of a boy involved had “taken him to the police station”.

Enquiries have revealed that despite the tough talking by the press spokesperson, no independent action to recover the repair costs has been taken by the town council.

A quarterly health & safety report published by the council on 16th June stated in relation to the incident:

“A litter bin and the basket swing were set on fire. The litter bin cover and the basket swing need replacing and the safety surface needs repairing. Premises manager is organising with our insurer. The perpetrators are known and are being dealt with by the police.”

A later expenditure report shows that the cost of repairing the cradle swing and safety surface was £1,754. This amount was claimed through the council’s insurance, subject to a £250 excess. An additional £155 to repair the litter bin was paid out of an existing budget.

This article originally appeared in the October 2021 issue of the Bradley Stoke Journal magazine (on page 11). The magazine is delivered FREE, nine times a year, to ALL 8,700 homes in Bradley Stoke. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.

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