Teenagers quizzed after £60,000 of damage to Ellesmere Port's Whitby Park play area

Reporter:

Staff reporter (Ellesmere Port)

A FIRE – thought to have been started deliberately – caused £60,000 of damage to the free-running play area in Whitby Park.

Firefighters were called to the scene on Stanney Lane just after 4am on Thursday, March 16, following reports that the ground matting was well alight.

Two 16-year-old boys have since been arrested on suspicion of arson.

Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWaC) was forced to close Whitby Park Parkour, which cost £110,000 and was opened to much fanfare in December, 2015.

It marks the latest in a string of anti-social incidents and the authority has vowed to work with emergency services to address the issue.

Maria Byrne, director of place operations at CWaC, said: “Since the Parkour was opened various partners, including the council’s place operations and localities teams, community safety wardens, Cheshire Fire and Rescue and the police have worked together to address the anti-social behaviour taking place on site, but incidents of vandalism are still occurring. A full assessment of the latest fire damage will now take place.” 

A spokesman said the site was in the process of being made safe after the incident and would remain closed until further notice.

He said there had been a number of incidents of vandalism since the park was opened, resulting in “significant repair cost”s incurred by the council.

“This latest incident has caused in the region of £60,000 of damage to the facility,” he said. “Police are investigating.” 

A spokesman for Cheshire Fire and Rescue said: “Matting, which is believed to have been deliberately set on fire, was extinguished by firefighters using a hose reel. Police were requested to attend.”

See full story in the Chester Leader

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