CCTV cameras installed at a children’s playground to deter trouble-makers are proving useless, according to villagers, who say it is now more like a waste ground.
Two years ago, a £6,000 Chrysalis community grant was secured by a neighbour of Taylors Meadow for six cameras.
However, the images they produce are not constantly monitored by Hillingdon Council, which controls the equipment, and footage had not been checked at all until April this year, when a tape of young people starting a fire was passed to the police.
The play area, off Springwell Lane, has been a target for anti-social behaviour since it was built about three years ago. Now people living nearby are calling for better monitoring of the CCTV or for the park to be moved to a new location.
One neighbour, who did not wish to be named, said she had asked the council not to create a play area in that spot. She had anticipated that it would attract trouble because it is tucked away.
“A year before, the council removed a similar park from Sanctuary Close for that very reason, so we knew what would happen,” she said.
Councillor Henry Higgins (Harefield, Conservative) said he had contacted council officers about identifying the culprits in the arson case from CCTV footage, but said they had told him it was a matter for the police.
“We have passed the camera tapes to the police and it’s up to them whether they prosecute,” he said, “but I am trying to find out where we stand if the police don’t do anything about it.”
Councillor Jonathan Bianco, cabinet member for property, said: “We share residents’ concerns about the anti-social behaviour in the park and, with the police, are stepping up security in the area. This includes joint patrols with our enforcement officers to deter offenders.
“We want to assure residents that we will pass any evidence we have, including CCTV images, to the police and always press for the strongest possible charges to be brought. Arrangements are already in place to repair the damage to the playground.”
During the past few years, two scout huts have been burned down, graffiti has been sprayed on the football pavilion and playground equipment, bins have been ripped out and now some of the cameras are covered with spray paint.
“The park is rarely used for anything other than anti-social behaviour,” added the neighbour.
“I don’t see families in there and the Meadow playgroup doesn’t take their children there any more because it’s so horrible.
“It’s completely destroyed.”
? What can be done to protect the Taylors Meadow play area? Should it be removed? Your views are welcome as always. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.