CCTV is being installed at one of Brentwood’s most popular parks following complaints that alcohol-fueled anti-social behavior around new play equipment is ruining the lives of neighbours. Leah Flack says that over the past six years the obscenities of screaming youngsters allegedly abusing King George’s Park equipment into the wee hours of the morning have made life for her and her family increasingly intolerable.
The 40-year-old who lives in Hartswood Road says she has repeatedly asked Brentwood Council to do more to curb the behavior in the children’s play area which overlooks her property. She says she had to call the fire department after a climbing frame was set on fire and then a campfire nearly got out of hand.
And the mother-of-two says the late-night parties with music blaring from the loudspeakers meant she kept her windows closed even in the summer heat. But she says the problem has gotten significantly worse since Brentwood Council replaced play equipment costing £265,000 – including an item she says allowed teenagers to peek into her garden while rushed over his fence.
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Leah, who lives with Michael and their daughters Esme, six, and Ayla, two, said: “They’re adults, they get kicked out of pubs, run past and stay in play areas for hours. We I have two young children, in the summer we have to keep all the windows closed because of the language, it’s so bad with shouting, shouting and crashing.
“When it’s really hot you can’t open the windows. The language is awful. I have two young children and I don’t want them listening to this. And it’s scary for them when they hear people screaming and break equipment.
“But my problem is that the council said they engaged with us. We weren’t consulted. What the council put in is like a beacon for every drunk.”
The council’s King George Park plans have been plagued with controversy – the council has launched a new clubhouse even though it has been unable to eject members from the Hartswood Golf Club which still has years to run on a 60-year lease for its own clubhouse. Higher parking charges are due to be introduced later this year at King George Playgrounds – but concerns have been raised that the charges could encourage visitors to use local roads for parking rather than to pay for parking.
Leah said: “Ideally we want them to move the merry-go-round, apart from the fact of privacy it’s like a beacon. Ultimately my main frustration is after all this evidence that we have to them data, of all the places they put it was behind our back fence. They don’t seem to see that it’s a problem.
Leah says she has kept a diary of incidents since 2016 which she says include broken glasses and loudspeakers blaring until the early hours. Technology program manager Leah now fears for the summer when she says the situation is only getting worse.
She said: “The council must be so sick of us sending emails saying we’ve had another hell of a weekend. They said it would all be mitigated with the new play equipment.
“But what they installed made the situation even worse. My main concern is that they refused to send us the plans. It clearly shows that this equipment is going to attract even more problems.”
A Brentwood Borough Council spokesperson said: ‘Our Community Safety Team are working with Essex Police to patrol the park and CCTV is being put in place as part of the redevelopment. We are currently arranging a meeting with the resident to discuss his concerns.