CCTV cameras to be installed at Hawick playpark

The new playpark at Hawick's Wilton Lodge Park.
The new playpark at Hawick's Wilton Lodge Park.

Security cameras are to be installed at the new playpark in Hawick’s Wilton Lodge Park in the hope of preventing a repeat of the vandalism and anti-social behaviour that blighted its opening weekend last month.

The £300,000 playground proved to be a magnet for yobs, sparking a series of reports of anti-social behaviour in the days after its official opening on Friday, March 17.

Incidents reported included eggs being thrown at the playpark’s timber castle and an excitable dog being tied to an area beside the swings, leaving children too scared to play on them.

Those troubles led to calls for closed-circuit TV cameras to be installed, as reported in last week’s Hawick News.

Scottish Borders Council has now heeded those calls and will soon put up cameras to monitor the behaviour of users of the playpark.

The new cafe in the park is now earmarked to open at the end of May, with a tendering exercise to appoint an operator already under way.

The Gilbert Davidson Fountain is also expected to open within weeks as the completion of the £3.64m park regeneration project gets ever closer.

A council spokesperson said: “Excitement in the new playpark was evident in the local community, with a video of the new park posted on our Facebook page attracting 14,000 views.

“Unfortunately, there have been several reported incidents of misuse of the play-park during the first weekend, spoiling the attraction for visitors and families.

“These incidents have been reported to the police, who will continue to give the area passing attention and take appropriate action against anyone found to be involved in criminal activity.

“In addition, the council will be shortly putting in place security cameras to monitor the behaviour of park users.”

“Dog owners are also being asked to keep their pets out of the playpark, with signage in place to remind others.

“We would ask that people respect others when using the park by refraining from anti-social behaviour, including use of foul and abusive language, and treating the play area with the appropriate amount of care.”

Planning permission has already been granted to remove the old playpark at Volunteer Park and replace it with 36 parking spaces for visitors to the sports pitches there and Wilton Lodge Park.