Vandals strike at Victorian park

Matthew SparkesVandals have struck at a recently-restored Victorian pond in a city park and caused hundreds of pounds of damage.Catton Park, which lies between St Faiths Road, Spixworth Road, Church Street and Mile Cross Lane, was featured as part of the BBC's Breathing Places program in 2008.Matthew Sparkes

Vandals have struck at a recently-restored Victorian pond in a city park and caused hundreds of pounds of damage.

Catton Park, which lies between St Faiths Road, Spixworth Road, Church Street and Mile Cross Lane, was featured as part of the BBC's Breathing Places program in 2008.

An area around a pond first dug in the 1860s was cleared, new fences and gates were fitted and several trees planted.

But during the early hours of Saturday morning the two gates were ripped from their hinges, a section of fence was broken down and all the detritus was thrown into the pond.


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A member of the public discovered the aftermath along with beer cans which had been left at the scene.

Ken Leggett, trustee of the Catton Park Trust, said the park was, 'a jewel in the crown'.

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'It's a crime, it really is. It's so depressing,' he said.

'They've just smashed the two gates and ripped off some of the quite expensive post and rail.'

He conceded that vandalism was 'bound to happen' and that the cost of securing each of the park's six entrances every night would be prohibitive.

It is expected that repairing the damage will cost around �500.

The park was restored after a �650,000 lottery grant was secured and opened to the public by HRH the Duke of Kent in October 2007.

Before this the public had only limited access to the 70 acre area at the discretion of the landowner, but the trust was founded and now has a 30 year lease on the land.

The park was designed in the eighteenth century by Humphry Repton, who later went on to work on Regent's Park and lay out Russell Square in London.

A Broadland Council spokesperson said: 'We are very disappointed to hear of this damage, especially when we know that the park is highly valued and much used by residents.'

Anyone with information on the vandalism should ring Sprowston police on 0845 456 4567.

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