Wollaston grandfather slams park teen shelter plan

Stourbridge News: Martin Hewitt looking out of his window at the park. Buy photo: 121305L Buy this photo Martin Hewitt looking out of his window at the park. Buy photo: 121305L

A WOLLASTON grandfather is urging campaigners to rethink plans to put a youth shelter on Swanpool Park amid fears it may increase anti-social behaviour.

The Friends of Swanpool Park hope to secure £5,000 to £6,000 for a new shelter for teenagers as part of plans to improve the South Road park.

But former vice-chairman of the group - Martin Hewitt, of Studley Gate, says he and a number of neighbours “totally oppose” the plan as they fear it will increase anti-social behaviour on the park rather than reduce it.

Mr Hewitt, aged 51, a grandfather-of-three, says he was the victim of a vicious attack outside his house, opposite the park, as he walked home with his wife Antonita after a night out.

The incident, involving eight or nine youths, left him with several broken ribs, four missing front teeth and a nasty cut to the eye.

It also left the self-employed window cleaner off work for eight weeks with no pay, a £5,200 bill for corrective dental work and “very nervous to go outdoors”.

He said: “If I wasn’t the size I am - I’m sure I would have been killed. All this for standing up to anti-social behaviour.”

Horrified at the thought that a new teen shelter could attract more anti-social youngsters and become a haven for underage drinkers and cannabis smokers - he says he raised his concerns at a Friends of the Park open day.

But he claims his fears fell on deaf ears.

Mr Hewitt, who stood down from the Friends group over a disagreement about how funds were being spent, said: “They will not be helping matters on this park - just making it worse.”

Norton councillor Colin Elcock, who is driving forward the Friends’ project, said: “We’ve held a full consultation with residents around the park.

“They’ve chosen a preferred location for the teen shelter, which is slightly further away from the road but it’s a good location - just near the allotments. I think everybody is happy with it.

“We’re looking into funding now we’ve got the okay to position it.”

He said the group may apply to the new Stourbridge community forum for cash and other funding options are being considered.

Plans to improve the park also include putting in eight new benches to the tune of around £2,500.

But cllr Elcock added: “The priority is the teen shelter - we want to get something sorted for the youths of the area so they’ve got somewhere to congregate away from houses.”

He said shelters in Wollescote and Netherton Parks had proved successful, adding: “If we can provide a decent location they can sit and have a drink and a smoke and talk to their friends. I think the youths will appreciate that.”

Alan Hoppy, chairman of the Friends group, said only 17 people had registered objections to the shelter plan.

Sergeant Keith Pagan, of the Amblecote and Norton Neighbourhood Teams, said the “park has always attracted youths during the evening” which has resulted in damage to fences backing onto Swan Street/ Park Road and noise nuisance near the the Studley Gate car parks.

But he added: “If the shelter attracts them away from these residential locations, I would consider this to be a positive.

“We have also suffered damage and broken glass in the children’s play area so a teenage shelter that steers youths away from the play area to their own shelter may also reduce these problems.”

Comments (12)

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9:51am Thu 21 Mar 13

keeley31 says...

There on about putting one up at wordsley park too and i dont agree its money that could be spent better and having shelters will definately bring antisocial behaviour just means theyve got got somewhere to sit and drink. Ive suggested on a number of occasions to spend the money on a skate park as its something kids can use but instead they dont listen!
There on about putting one up at wordsley park too and i dont agree its money that could be spent better and having shelters will definately bring antisocial behaviour just means theyve got got somewhere to sit and drink. Ive suggested on a number of occasions to spend the money on a skate park as its something kids can use but instead they dont listen! keeley31
  • Score: 0

9:56am Thu 21 Mar 13

Jeremy44 says...

There's something wrong with people who live near parks, then complain about people who use the park. Hello...the park was there long before you were, so accept that it's a community facility or move away from the community.
Is this the same bloke who complained about people walking dogs in the park a few years ago? If you don't like it mate, move to Brierley Hill and live in a block.
There's something wrong with people who live near parks, then complain about people who use the park. Hello...the park was there long before you were, so accept that it's a community facility or move away from the community. Is this the same bloke who complained about people walking dogs in the park a few years ago? If you don't like it mate, move to Brierley Hill and live in a block. Jeremy44
  • Score: 1

10:08am Thu 21 Mar 13

keeley31 says...

Well 5 grand could be used better on a park in my opinion what do kids get out of it? That money could be spent in something better on a park for kids!!!
Well 5 grand could be used better on a park in my opinion what do kids get out of it? That money could be spent in something better on a park for kids!!! keeley31
  • Score: 0

10:52am Thu 21 Mar 13

rosco0_18 says...

What a joke! Spending more money on usless items that the youth of today will just destroy and vandalise. They spent money on painting the changing rooms, thats now ruined! This is what happens when you have people incharge of funding that live no where near the area! I wonder if they would let this happen by there houses in Hagley where they walk there dogs etc?! Its a very POOR decision.
What a joke! Spending more money on usless items that the youth of today will just destroy and vandalise. They spent money on painting the changing rooms, thats now ruined! This is what happens when you have people incharge of funding that live no where near the area! I wonder if they would let this happen by there houses in Hagley where they walk there dogs etc?! Its a very POOR decision. rosco0_18
  • Score: -1

1:05pm Thu 21 Mar 13

dudley old boy says...

Jeremy44 The park may have been but the shelter was not.
Jeremy44 The park may have been but the shelter was not. dudley old boy
  • Score: -1

4:37pm Thu 21 Mar 13

Wlkes7 says...

I
I Wlkes7
  • Score: 0

5:11am Fri 22 Mar 13

Jeremy44 says...

Dudley Old Boy...the point is that there are activities you can expect to happen in a park, rather then the middle of a housing estate.
Stourbridge's parks have become pretty decrepid over the last 20 years as the money has dried up and the public have preferred low taxes and a few extra quid to spend in the boozer. Think of the floral displays and events they used to hold in Mary Stevens and Swan Pool..now it's just a case of taking facilities out and finding the cheapest method of maintenance, usually by removing anything interesting and replacing with grass that a tractor can mow cheaply. Anything that enhances the quality of the environment and gets kids off the street corners should be encouraged....public parks are there for that community purpose. People who don't agree with that shouldn't live next to them and then complain about the qulaity of their own society....work to improve it.
Dudley Old Boy...the point is that there are activities you can expect to happen in a park, rather then the middle of a housing estate. Stourbridge's parks have become pretty decrepid over the last 20 years as the money has dried up and the public have preferred low taxes and a few extra quid to spend in the boozer. Think of the floral displays and events they used to hold in Mary Stevens and Swan Pool..now it's just a case of taking facilities out and finding the cheapest method of maintenance, usually by removing anything interesting and replacing with grass that a tractor can mow cheaply. Anything that enhances the quality of the environment and gets kids off the street corners should be encouraged....public parks are there for that community purpose. People who don't agree with that shouldn't live next to them and then complain about the qulaity of their own society....work to improve it. Jeremy44
  • Score: 1

11:21pm Sat 23 Mar 13

viktoria says...

"the point is that there are activities you can expect to happen in a park, rather then the middle of a housing estate. "

You mean drinking vodka? Isn't that what this new shelter will be used for?
"the point is that there are activities you can expect to happen in a park, rather then the middle of a housing estate. " You mean drinking vodka? Isn't that what this new shelter will be used for? viktoria
  • Score: -1

11:38am Sun 24 Mar 13

Haberdashery says...

This man wasn't so outspoken when his own son was involved in anti-social illegal behaviour which he went to jail for! I suspect the residents who lived at the scenes of his crimes weren't overjoyed with the situation either!

If you don't like teenagers, don't live by a park.
This man wasn't so outspoken when his own son was involved in anti-social illegal behaviour which he went to jail for! I suspect the residents who lived at the scenes of his crimes weren't overjoyed with the situation either! If you don't like teenagers, don't live by a park. Haberdashery
  • Score: 1

10:41pm Mon 25 Mar 13

ozpat says...

Why not just make the existing one bigger!!!, that way they can have more to vandalise and destroy as well as hang around at. 5 Grand of taxpayers money would be better spent knocking down the existing urine infested block and putting some items in for the children rather than the destructive element bring the place further down. Let em have a toilet block and that is it until they can prove they can appreciate what they have. Bugger em if they want it let them pay for it, why should the money be wasted on this element? You can hardly complain about the lack of facilities when the scum / chavs destroy it can you , deal with the problem not pamper to it!
Why not just make the existing one bigger!!!, that way they can have more to vandalise and destroy as well as hang around at. 5 Grand of taxpayers money would be better spent knocking down the existing urine infested block and putting some items in for the children rather than the destructive element bring the place further down. Let em have a toilet block and that is it until they can prove they can appreciate what they have. Bugger em if they want it let them pay for it, why should the money be wasted on this element? You can hardly complain about the lack of facilities when the scum / chavs destroy it can you , deal with the problem not pamper to it! ozpat
  • Score: -1

11:13am Tue 26 Mar 13

Jeremy44 says...

The idea is that providing a shelter for teenagers away from play equipment aimed at younger kids stops them from hanging round on kiddy swings and destroying them, and keeps them off the streets to boot.
The social structure in the UK has broken (it's not like Oz where people still respect their own society and the teenagers are a lot more rounded and mature). The UK has to make do with a declining, cheapening poor quality urban society that isn't going to get any better in our lifetimes, but some of these older parents of chavs would prefer to make do with nothing because they don't know any better themselves....after all, a lot of them produced these feral kids in the first place!
The idea is that providing a shelter for teenagers away from play equipment aimed at younger kids stops them from hanging round on kiddy swings and destroying them, and keeps them off the streets to boot. The social structure in the UK has broken (it's not like Oz where people still respect their own society and the teenagers are a lot more rounded and mature). The UK has to make do with a declining, cheapening poor quality urban society that isn't going to get any better in our lifetimes, but some of these older parents of chavs would prefer to make do with nothing because they don't know any better themselves....after all, a lot of them produced these feral kids in the first place! Jeremy44
  • Score: 1

11:12pm Tue 26 Mar 13

ozpat says...

Jeremy44,
I find it a sad indictment on a society that is clearly unable to appreciate its own surroundings. I was raised around the Norton area and can remember the boating pool and playground (I have only been in oz for 7 years). I was there last year and frankly appalled at the state of the place, clearly money had been spent in the past to update the swings etc but,those toilets, changing rooms etc are shocking, I fully agree with your perspective and sentiment regarding the attitude of the Ozzie youth and adults who want facilities and when it things get put in place its is respected, used with consideration, and I like you believe this attitude comes from the top down. If kids are not being chastised for wrong doing, and the attitudes of the adults\parents are feral in nature then I am not surprised but even more so, saddened that destruction and positive respect have gone down the last working toilet left. I may live in oz but this is still my "home town" and if I can help in way let me know eh!
Jeremy44, I find it a sad indictment on a society that is clearly unable to appreciate its own surroundings. I was raised around the Norton area and can remember the boating pool and playground (I have only been in oz for 7 years). I was there last year and frankly appalled at the state of the place, clearly money had been spent in the past to update the swings etc but,those toilets, changing rooms etc are shocking, I fully agree with your perspective and sentiment regarding the attitude of the Ozzie youth and adults who want facilities and when it things get put in place its is respected, used with consideration, and I like you believe this attitude comes from the top down. If kids are not being chastised for wrong doing, and the attitudes of the adults\parents are feral in nature then I am not surprised but even more so, saddened that destruction and positive respect have gone down the last working toilet left. I may live in oz but this is still my "home town" and if I can help in way let me know eh! ozpat
  • Score: 1

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