Security patrols upped after fireworks set off in Hornchurch park
- Credit: Ozlem Difigaro
Security staff have been told to increase patrols of Harrow Lodge Park after fireworks were set off close to residents' homes.
They were launched from a bank of earth behind Wallis Close, Hornchurch, last Friday (April 1).
The earth was left behind the gardens in 2019 during the redevelopment of the Harrow Lodge Leisure Centre.
The raised bank was supposed to be temporary but was later made permanent, despite residents’ pleas to have it restored to a flat playing field.
They have now raised concerns with Havering Council and Everyone Active, which runs the centre, that the raised earth has created “blind spots” which invite antisocial behaviour.
Havering Council called last week's incident a "one-off" and urged residents to report further crimes to the authorities.
“Calling the police will not make any difference,” said Tina Vorley, whose private CCTV filmed the fireworks.
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“By the time they respond, whoever set the fireworks off would have disappeared.”
Residents say antisocial behaviour is just one problem linked to the bank.
They say it also allows strangers to peer into their homes and that rain pools at the bottom and floods their gardens.
The council’s response to the overlooking complaints was that it would leave the grass long “to deter use of that area”. It also said drainage would be added.
“You couldn’t make it up,” said Cllr Ray Morgon (Hacton, Residents' Group), who has been supporting the residents.
“It’s been a bit of a shambles. The council should have insisted all the spoil was removed, rather than just dumped around the back."
Tom Fletcher, area contract manager for Everyone Active, emailed residents to say he was beefing up security.
He is also looking into an “intruder alarm” which would go off in the event of “activity after dark on the field”.
“Clearly this is unacceptable behaviour,” he wrote. “Up to now we have not had issues as extreme as this at the rear of the centre.
“The site team have been asked to increase their patrols of this area.”
The council said: “Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, antisocial behaviour does sometimes take place in our parks (especially at night).”
It asked residents to report incidents to police, the community safety team or the leisure centre.
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