A significant minority of teenagers using the park have managed to climb over the fencing on two sides of the new tennis courts, proceeding to open the gate onto the courts to let their friends on bikes through, who have then caused significant bike track damage to the surface of the courts and have attempted to damage the new nets and posts. The new gate system is coded entry only from the outside, but due to health and safety law, has to remain easy to open from inside the court in case of emergencies. It is with a mixture of anger and disappointment, that the Town Council has been forced to cancel the tennis launch event next Thursday 24th August 2023 between 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. followed by free tennis bookings on that day outside the launch event itself. We hope to reschedule the event when we have addressed the issues and attempted to secure the courts as much as we can. The Town Council was lucky to get full funding from the LTA’s Parks Tennis Project for the new courts, and the Town Council’s Administrative Team worked very hard to bring this project to completion for our local community. Understandably, to see it vandalised with such little thought or respect for others within 4 weeks of completion is deeply upsetting and troubling.
The Town Council is due to have a contractor on site next week to heighten the fencing around the courts before we embark on cleaning and repainting, so the courts will be closed over the course of Monday afternoon and Tuesday (21st and 22nd August 2023). You will notice that we have had to remove some benches for the moment, as these were being used to aid climbing over the fencing. We have them in storage and are looking into securing them to the ground, as well as the picnic tables, which were then also dragged onto the basketball courts after we removed the benches. The issue of park security will also be discussed at the next meeting of the Open Spaces & Environment Committee in early September. We are only a small Town Council with limited budgets and are doing our best to improve our recreational areas and open spaces within that. We work hard to obtain grants and funding wherever possible, so that we can continue to make improvements. What is particularly sad and unknown to the culprits, is that we were currently investigating the possibility of resurfacing and repainting the basketball courts and outside gym area side also, as we know teenagers are engaging more with this space and activity than tennis at the current time. However, given this incident, and depending on what happens moving forward, the Town Council and Council Members may now look unfavourably on making further improvements.
We are seeing increased anti-social behaviour and vandalism across many of our public spaces, with increasingly less available police support. We work closely with the Community Safety Unit at Tunbridge Wells Borough Council and will continue to report all issues to the police, but we also appreciate the proactive reporting of our conscientious residents and the wider general public also.
You can call the police on 101 for non-emergencies and can also report online: