Call for fencing, CCTV and better facilities for all ages after Dane Valley play area turned into mud pit by off-road riders

The play area by Millmead Sure Start has been turned into a mud pit Photo Angie McCarthy

A Margate mum-of-one is calling for CCTV and better facilities for children and young people after the Dane Valley play area was turned into a mud pit by what is presumed to be quad bikers.

Angie McCarthy took her seven-year-old daughter to the park, by the Millmead Sure Start, yesterday (December 29) but was disgusted to find the play area had been churned into a muddy mess.

Angie, who often takes her two-year-old niece to the park as well, said there needs to be better security at the site but there also needs to be provision for older children.

She said: “It is infuriating for parents and disappointing for kids. It’s not going to kill kids to play in mud but that’s ok with wellies on, not when we just planned to go to the park. My little one had clothes on that she got for Christmas and new boots, not trash clothes for playing in mud.

“I understand adults or even older teens have nowhere to go and nothing to entertain them but there is nothing much for young kids either. Our excuse of a park does not even have a slide and the few things there are being trashed by older people. It’s is just not fair.”

Angie, who lives in Dane Valley, says she would like to see the park area protected and maybe a section of waste land allocated for young people who have quads or off-road bikes.

She said: “I like the idea of fencing the area off like Dane Park, which has issues of older kids destroying things, but this is because there is nothing for them to do so maybe that also needs addressing.I remember youth clubs kept me out of trouble.

“I very much like the idea of monitored CCTV for more reasons than just to protect equipment and also think there is enough wasteland to make an area for these people with non-road vehicles to go.”

Ward councillor David Wallin says he approached Thanet council about getting fencing, and better equipment, at the park back in September. He would also like to see CCTV installed.

He said: “Back in September, along with mentioning damage to much of the equipment at the park, I also suggested that the play area should be ‘fenced-in’, just like most, if not all, of the others on the isle are. That would, probably, have prevented what happened and, also, I think it is essential for protecting kids who go there to play.

“I have also asked for CCTV in this part of the ward – and that’s also been suggested by the PCSOs for the area. That is partly because of rowdy behaviour by some people living there against others.”

Cllr Wallin says the park area is also sadly lacking in equipment and what is there is in a bad condition but this is all that is in place for residents living in the Sure Start end of Millmead.

A Thanet council spokesperson said: “TDC wouldn’t have any relevant enforcement powers on this occasion. If there was criminal damage however, it should be reported to the police.”

Photo Angie McCarthy

Last month Thanet council was notified of a £211,280 allocation from Kent County Council for Community Parks as part of Contain Outbreak Management funding (COMF) to be invested within the district.

The funding must be spent by 31 March 2022 and must be used for children’s play equipment and/or community chairs and tables.

However, the Dane Valley play area has not been allocated a share of the funding. The largest amount – of £169,517- will be used to overhaul the Viking Ship play area in Cliftonville.

Further allocations have been made for Crispe Park in Birchington and Northdown Park. There is also a provisional allocation for boundary fencing at Memorial Recreation Ground, Broadstairs.

Angie says she would like a rethink of the park funding allocation with some being used for the Millmead play site, adding: “Northdown Park is quite well equipped and fenced off already.”