Coun Charlie Wraith, who represents the Cudworth ward, has made a plea for parents to take responsibility for their children’s alleged behaviour which has resulted in teenage gangs being blamed for criminal damage.
A play area on Royston Road, Cudworth, was the latest to suffer an attack and Coun Wraith told the Chronicle that budgets - which are already squeezed - won’t allow for continued repair work.
“The amount of damage we’ve seen in the last year has been terrible and we really are in danger of losing our kids’ play areas,” he added.
“There’s more than £5,000 of work to be done in Cudworth Park to repair damage and we estimate Royston Road’s flooring, which was ripped up, will cost another £1,600.”
The council said damaged equipment has to be removed if it’s deemed unsafe and although it has repaired or replaced items such as soft flooring and swings, a lack of funds to continue doing so could mean that might not always be possible at the 143 play areas it’s responsible for.
Grimethorpe alone has had £28,000 spent on its two play areas to replace fire-damaged equipment due to arson attacks in the last two years, accounting for a quarter of the Barnsley-wide annual total which tops £100,000.
“We’ve been here many times before where we’re pleading with those responsible to stop their mindless damage, but we’re being pushed to breaking point in a financial sense,” Coun Wraith added.
“We are in real danger of not carrying out further repairs and we may have to remove all equipment from our parks.”
A council spokesman asked residents who may have witnessed criminal damage while they’re using Barnsley’s parks to report it.
“If anyone knows any information about people who are responsible for causing damage, we urge them to contact us,” they added.
“Email email@example.com or complete the online form on our website.”