An array of CCTV cameras are set to be installed across an historic city park to protect it from gangs, yobs and vandals.
Avenham and Miller Parks in Preston has undergone a multi-million pound overhaul to become the centrepiece of the city’s Guild celebrations.
But the park’s restoration was blighted by vandals attacking historic monuments including the belvedere, while the parks have also seen drug dealing and attacks.
But today Father Timothy Lipscomb, chairman of the parks’ Friends group has revealed the park will be fitted with CCTV cameras, to protect the Green Flag park.
He said: “I think people realise it (vandalism issue) is getting a bit iffy and the situation with people breaking the balustrade and other things.
“We have done a lot of work on the water fountain and there are certain parts of the park that need protecting which cannot be protected just by people using it.
“It is certainly a real issue and it (CCTV) is certainly going to happen.”
Meanwhile residents in Preston city centre are due to meet to discuss yobs and drugs problems on Winckley Square, close to Avenham Park.
City centre police have been asked to tackle groups of youths who gather on the park ‘drinking alcohol, smoking drugs and damaging trees’, during afternoons and evenings.
The park was also a key venue during the Guild and a bid has been launched to overhaul the park through the Winckley Square Community Interest Company.
Fr Lipscomb said he did not believe the Georgian square was as badly affected as Avenham and Miller Parks.
He said: “There are gangs of student-aged youths but it is not too bad, the gangs on the park are much more dangerous.
“The worrying thing is the number of people going around the town centre selling drugs.
“They won’t change their lifestyles so we are going to have to learn to live with it. It is not nice but it is true.”
Fr Lipscomb added he hoped the CCTV would improve some of the more dangerous parts of the park.
He added: “Maybe they meet on Winckley Square and it is when they go onto the park that it gets ugly and on Avenham Walk and by the cannons on the park.
“Not nice things happen there.”
Adrian Phillips, deputy director of environment, said: “The council have looked in detail at providing CCTV at Avenham and Miller Parks.
“Whilst this is supported in principle, no funding has yet been secured, however the council continues to explore external funding options.
“Work is also ongoing with the police to maximise safety at the Parks.”
PCSO Stephen Connolly whose beat includes Winckley Square, said: “It has been a case of improving visibility and patrols. Our colleagues are paying particular attention in the evenings and early afternoons.” The Pact will meet on October 3.