Harpenden nature reserve blighted by repeated vandalism over summer

Batford Springs

Batford Springs - Credit: Archant

A cherished green space in Harpenden has been blighted by repeated vandalism over the summer.

The top of a bin which has been vandalised. Picture: Jack Adam

The top of a bin which has been vandalised. Picture: Jack Adam - Credit: Archant

For past few months there have been numerous incidents of anti-social behaviour at Batford Springs, including play equipment being burnt, benches being damaged and bins being thrown into the River Lea, which is a rare chalk stream.

In 1995, the area was accredited as a Nature Reserve by Natural England. It is owned and managed by Harpenden Town Council (HTC).

Chair of the HTC Batford Springs Working Party, Cllr Mary Maynard, believes the perpetrators are “overgrown teenagers”: “It is low level crime but it is important for two reasons. Our open spaces are much valued by the community, they are places people can go to walk with their kids and dogs.

“This is local to them, they live here. That is particularly true for families who don’t have a garden and their kids go to play there. It’s disgraceful.

Batford Springs Nature Reserve. Picture: DANNY LOO

Batford Springs Nature Reserve. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

“The second reason is cost. It costs to replace the damage. It’s exceptionally silly.”

She praised the quick response from HTC contractors when vandalism is reported.

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Herts police have upped patrols around the area to deter the criminal behaviour.

Chair of the Community Services Committee at HTC, Cllr Brian Ellis, added: “We find this very frustrating as the town council has invested a lot of resources into Batford Springs to make it better for local communities.

“We have been talking to the Police about these issues as well as other partners who provide youth outreach services.”

Local resident Jack Adam, who found some vandalism at Tallents Crescent, believes more should be done to tackle the problem.

He said: “Clearly the kids are bored and have nothing to do as there is only a park around here for the little ones.

“It’s now becoming a joke that kids think they can vandalise the bins on the field and when will it stop, when someone’s animal is dead?”

Local Sgt Jordon Fox added: “I was aware of quite a bit of anti-social behaviour around this area during the summer months particularly the good weather.

“There was also some damage reported. This led to an increase in patrols and working with the town council to try and manage the area.”