Wanton damage at award-winning park

The safety surfacing at the Wilton Lodge play park needs repaired.
The safety surfacing at the Wilton Lodge play park needs repaired.

Hawick residents have been expressing their anger this week after their award-winning children’s play park became the target of mindless vandals.

Less than a month ago, Wilton Lodge Park was bestowed with the coveted Green Flag status following a £3.6m Lottery-backed revamp.

The 43-hectare park became the first in the region to pick up the honour, which is the benchmark for publicly accessible parks and green spaces across the United Kingdom and around the world.

Sadly, that prestigious honour has failed to stop the park being targeted by vandals.

Late last week, its play park was damaged and pieces of it dug up, forcing the council to pay for resurfacing repairs.

The culprits have been condemned by a spokesperson for Scottish Borders Council, who called on the public to respect its leisure and cultural facilities.

The spokesperson said: “The safety surfacing of Wilton Lodge Park’s play park was targeted by vandals in the early hours of Thursday, August 9. The police are currently reviewing CCTV footage to identify those responsible, with repairs expected to take place in the coming days.

“We share the disappointment with the local community that this popular facility – funded by SBC and the Heritage Lottery Fund as part of the Wilton Lodge Park regeneration scheme – has been targeted in this way.

“As part of a £3.1m investment in new play parks, skate park and pump tracks and other outdoor community facilities, the council has already created new play areas in Galashiels and Oxton this summer, with more to follow in communities across the Borders in the coming years.

“We would appeal to communities to play their part and respect these facilities which aim to keep our young people active.”

The attack has also angered Hawick councillor Stuart Marshall, who labelled it an ‘outrage’.

He said: “Townsfolk are absolutely reeling this week when they heard of the children’s play area at the park being vandalised. This is a park that nearly everyone in the town is proud of and the plaudits that it has received from visitors this summer have just been overwhelming. To target this play park in such a way has quite rightly outraged many townsfolk and I hope that it won’t be long before information comes forward in order to catch those responsible.”

Anyone with information is urged to call 101.