Park shut for months due to vandalism reopens after £50k work

Councillors at a park

Norwich city councillors Matt Packer and Viv Thomas at Bowers Avenue park. - Credit: Norwich City Council

A children's park, shut for months because council bosses could not afford to remove glass from its sandpits, has reopened after £50,000 of work.

Vandals left shattered glass strewn over two sandpits in Bowers Avenue park, in Mile Cross, Norwich, during the coronavirus lockdown last year.

It led to Norwich City Council closing the park. A sign on the gate stated it would have to remain shut due to the anti-social behaviour.

The council said that was because it did not have the money to remove and replenish the sand.

However, the council confirmed in March it had secured money to replace the sandpits with grass and safety netting.

And the park has now reopened, just before the start of the school summer holidays - with new play equipment.

The council has put in two new double swing sets and a climbing frame, as well as resurfacing over the sandpits.

Safety grass mats have replaced the sand which was underneath the swings.

Park in Norwich

The park at Bowers Avenue in Mile Cross. - Credit: Norwich City Council

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A cantilever swing has also been installed alongside a level access path, while a new picnic table has also been added.

Matthew Packer, cabinet member with responsibility for parks and open spaces at Norwich City Council, said: "It was a difficult decision for us to delay reopening the park last year.

"But by doing so we’ve had the time needed to speak with the community about ongoing issues and find the capital investment to really improve this much-needed space for residents.

“The new surface will ensure that the same issue which resulted in the park being closed last year does not happen again.

“The increased use of the city’s parks and open spaces throughout the pandemic has only reinforced our existing position that we will continue to invest in and enhance these across the city for everyone in Norwich.”

Bowers Avenue park remained shut due to broken glass in both sandpits. Norwich City Council says it

Bowers Avenue park remained shut due to broken glass in both sandpits. Norwich City Council says it does not have the budget to replenish the sand. Picture: Ruth Lawes - Credit: Archant

The work, paid for through the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) and Section 106 money from developers, has cost around £50,000.