Volunteers beat the vandals with park clean-up

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A group of altruistic volunteers spent their weekend cleaning up a park that has been beset with litter and vandalism in recent times.

Friends of Springfield Mill Park and Churwell Environmental Volunteers joined forces with a number of charitable citizens to clean up the park, and delve into the pond to remove rubbish that had accummulated underwater.

The park, which is owned by Greenbelt Holdings, has fallen into a state of disrepair, with the Rooms Lane entrance and the playground area in need of improvement.

Helena Sevier, of the Friends of Springfield Mill Park committee, said: “The clean up was really fantastic. We cleared all the rubbish and it’s looking much better now. Even though it was arranged at short notice, around 40 people came out to help. I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who came out and supported. The group did a lot of really good work in 2009 but since then due to litter, vandalism and wear and tear it needs help again. So our thinking is ‘Let’s bring the community together and get it sorted’.” The Friends group has helped put up new fencing, benches and planted tree bulbs to improve the public space since it was set up in 2006.

But they have also called on Greenbelt to fulfil what it says are its contractual obligations to maintain the park to a good standard.

Ms Sevier added: “It’s their responsibility to maintain it. They have told us that they are investigating the issues we have flagged up to them

A spokesman for the company said: “Greenbelt welcomes and supports the local community’s involvement in its nearby green space. Over the years we have actively encouraged this engagement and we are delighted that, as a result, the Friends Group was formed about eight years ago, thanks to the dedication of a small group of local residents.

“The Friends Group are to be congratulated on their sterling work in attracting funding to supplement the annual funding and sponsorship already given by Greenbelt.

“The land at Springfield Park has been owned by Greenbelt since 2000 and since then we have undertaken the general maintenance works each year wholly at our own expense - the residents do not contribute to this, neither does the local council.

“We do carry out regular maintenance checks of the site but the most effective way to prevent anti-social behaviour that sadly affects this green space, is to have local action.

“Greenbelt urges all local residents to be vigilant in looking out for those responsible and asks them to report this to relevant local authorities, such as their councillors.”