£6k set aside to make vandalised astro turf ‘safe’

The vandalised astro turf at Lagley Meadow in Berkhamsted has been closed since the summer.
The vandalised astro turf at Lagley Meadow in Berkhamsted has been closed since the summer.

An astro turf area which has been regularly vandalised could re-open in time for the school holidays.

The site behind Lagley Meadow Youth Centre, which is owned by Berkhamsted Town Council, has been closed since July – leaving children without a dedicated area to play.

Now the town council has set aside £6,000 of its 2017/18 budget to ensure the area is ‘safe and usable’.

Town clerk Janet Mason has been speaking to contractors since last summer to find out what repairs can be made.

She told the Gazette: “It’s been subjected to various bouts of vandalism over the past few years.

“I came here last year and I was a little bit alarmed at the state of it. The fences around it have been broken and it’s even been set on fire.

“We have to be very careful of the safety of young people who might go and use the area.

“I have been looking at quotes to have the damaged areas taken away and have it as an open space.

“At the moment it still has the damaged fencing around that is quite dangerous and very unstable, and we want to make the astroturf secure.”

It is hoped that the astro turf could open up again by either half-term or the summer holidays.

But Mrs Mason admitted there is always the worry that the investment still won’t put an end to the mindless vandalism taking place.

She added: “It’s a nice place for young people to go out by themselves.

“There’s not that much on the west side of town for them.

“There’s always an ever-present worry about it being vandalised again. But you can’t go Tarmacing over everything in response to that.

“It would be nice to have and provide this service for somewhere for these kids to go and have fun.”