SECURITY staff had to be drafted in to ensure newly installed play park and fitness equipment was not vandalised for a second time at a Bournemouth conservation area.

BCP Council was in the process of putting in the new facilities at Churchill Gardens earlier this month before they were trashed.

The area had “clear signage and fencing” instructing people not to use the equipment until work had been completed.

However, this warning was ignored and as a result repairs had to be carried out, costing more than £4,000.

A planned piece of equipment for the play park was scrapped due to this additional expense.

Boscombe West ward councillor Jane Kelly said it was “very sad” that a small minority had caused the damage.

She went on to say that she wanted to focus on the “excellent facilities” an ongoing project in the area will provide, which including a new community building.

A spokesperson for BCP Council said: “Despite clear signage and fencing to inform people not to use the equipment until installation was completed, two areas of Churchill Gardens were vandalised and required repair works.

“In the new fitness area, funded by the Interreg ASPIRE Programme, the surfacing and foundations were damaged. Reinstalling the equipment and replacing the surfacing has cost £4,300.

“In the play park area the roundabout was damaged, costing £160 to repair. This means that unfortunately, a four person seesaw which was included in the original plans will now not be installed as a result of the repair costs."

The local authority confirmed to the Daily Echo that security personnel costing £382 were instructed to guard the rubber surface flooring until it had cured over a 12-hour period.

“We are really disappointed that despite us placing fencing and clear signage at the park, people ignored this and caused serious damage to the equipment and surfacing, incurring extra costs and causing delays to the project," added the spokesperson.

“We hope that now the improvement and repair works are completed, many families will be able to enjoy the new equipment.”

The ASPIRE programme (Adding to Social capital and individual Potential In disadvantaged REgions) is funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

The scheme is working to create a food-related community project in a new building in Churchill Gardens and the overall project is set to progressed in the coming months.

Bournemouth Echo: Councillor Jane KellyCouncillor Jane Kelly

Cllr Kelly said: “The council has made that statement therefore it will be public knowledge what has happened.

“I do hope the people who did that damage will feel sorry about it but will all look forward to joining in what will be available for them when the project gets going in a couple of months’ time.

“I have been working in Churchill Gardens since I was first elected in 2011.

“We have done a lot there and this is project is the biggest one that will happen there.

“We have managed to gain these European funds for it and we must absolutely make the most of it.”