Row over bike track and football goal vandalism at town's Rec

Picture: Ian Burt

Police have been called to Sprowston's recreation ground in June - Credit: IAN BURT

Plans are being considered to help combat anti-social behaviour in public open spaces after recent reports of confrontational altercations and vandalism attempts. 

Sprowston Town Council will discuss the issues at the recreation ground during its meeting on Wednesday after police were called to two incidents this month. 

The first included a heated verbal altercation between young people using the bike track and parents of small children in the vicinity. 

A large group of teenagers who attempted to climb on and break the football goals was also reported to the police, as well as the subsequent intimidation of a member of the public who attempted to speak to them. 

Recreation Ground Road in Sprowston. Picture Archant Library.

Recreation Ground Road in Sprowston. Picture Archant Library. - Credit: Archant

The Sprowston Youth Engagement Project (SYEP) will outline its three-year business plan to the council which includes an aspiration to provide youth engagement on the recreation ground six evenings a week and during the day for summer holidays. 

This would be dependent on securing additional funding. 

Clare Lincoln, SYEP project leader, said: "We were not seeing as much last year during lockdowns with maybe less people out, but there has definitely been an increase in reports. 

"For us to be flexible and to engage, we need to be out every single day." 

Clare Lincoln, project lead for SYEP (Sprowston Youth Engagement Project) 

Clare Lincoln, project lead for SYEP (Sprowston Youth Engagement Project) - Credit: SYEP

SYEP would look to build relationships with the young people and question their behaviour.

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The project is currently active on Wednesday, Friday and Saturdays but they have identified a need for engagement on Mondays and Tuesdays as well. 

Mayor John Ward said the town council would be delighted to see SYEP increase its engagement work.

John Ward, Conservative councillor for Sprowston. Pic: Norfolk Conservatives.

Sprowston mayor John Ward - Credit: Norfolk Conservatives

He added: "We would certainly help and be able to provide some funding. I believe they have a caravan now which could be put up on the rec as a base to speak to some of the youths. 

"It's not generally anything very serious but rather groups of youngsters getting overexuberant. 

"All of our parks are nice family areas and we want to keep them like that. If SYEP can increase its coverage that would be great and we would have to think about CCTV if the problem persists. But that would not be a first step. We want to nip this in the bud."

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