Council laments waste of public money after bench in children’s play area is torched

A picnic bench in Rosedale Park, Lowestoft, was found torched just a few months after it was put in

A picnic bench in Rosedale Park, Lowestoft, was found torched just a few months after it was put in place by Lowestoft Town Council. Picture: Matthew Wade - Credit: Archant

A council has expressed its dismay after a bench was set alight just a matter of months after being installed.

Residents hit out in recent days when the picnic bench in the children's play area at Lowestoft's Rosedale Park - also known as Broadwaters - was found completely charred.

The bench was only put in place last summer as part local authority efforts to improve leisure facilities across Waveney.

Lowestoft Town Council's (LTC) own contribution was to oversee a programme of works that would make parks more attractive to local people, leading to the installation of new toddler and junior equipment at Rosedale.

There included in the works an obligation to provide a place for families to sit and gather while children enjoyed the new equipment, but already it has gone up in smoke.

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Shona Bendix, town clerk for LTC, said: 'We are hugely disappointed that a bench put in only in the summer last year has been destroyed.

'This is upsetting for local residents and park users and a waste of public money - spent because having access to safe outdoor space where children and young people can exercise and socialise is important.

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'We now have to consider carefully the merits of replacing the bench.

'We take such incidents very seriously and the matter has been reported to the police.'

Suffolk Constabulary says it was informed of the incident on Sunday, March 3, and enquiries are ongoing. Anyone with any information about the destruction of the bench is encouraged to call Lowestoft police on 101, quoting reference 12407/19.

Sitting in the play area blackened and warped, the bench is being removed by Waveney Norse as the town council contemplates buying a replacement.

After hearing of the bench's destruction, councillor Alice Taylor said it was 'not completely unexpected' - but still no less disappointing.

'These benches have to be bought using very limited funds,' said Mrs Taylor. 'We can't just go out and buy another one, so for a while there will be nothing there.

'The fact is, 99.9pc of people in Lowestoft would never do anything like that - it is always one person who spoils things for everyone. People that do these things are not thinking about how it affects people around them.'

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