NEWBURY town councillors have approved the installation of a new £6,000 CCTV system in Victoria Park, in an effort to crack down on vandalism and anti-social behaviour.
The single-camera system will be installed on a pole near to the kiosk and provide 360° coverage of the park.
Councillors approved the proposal at a meeting of the community services committee last Wednesday, with the new surveillance system set to be introduced within the next six weeks.
It is hoped the new high-resolution camera will act as a deterrent to vandals and thieves, following the park’s £430,000 refurbishment.
Victoria Park has, in the past, been subject to graffiti on the skatepark, boat shed and children’s play equipment – while attempts to break into the kiosk, boat shed, splash park and bowls club buildings have also been noted.
The town council has had to cover the costs of repairing the damage.
The new automated CCTV system will cost around £400 a year to run. However, community services manager Granville Taylor said the move would ultimately save the council money, with more than that currently being spent annually on repairing damage to the park.
According to Mr Taylor, the CCTV system will feature night vision and integrated movement sensors to automatically zoom in on perpetrators.
The chairwoman of the community services committee, Sarah Greenall, (Con, St John’s) said she was confident the new camera would deter any would-be vandals.
She said: “It’s a good way forward.
“It’s really important, at the end of the day, to look after the park.
“Everybody wants to use Victoria Park, it’s something to be proud of.
“You’re always going to get the odd person who thinks ‘I’m going to wreck this or that’, so we hope this will act as a deterrent.”
The initial £6,000 cost of purchasing the equipment and installing the system will be paid for using developer contributions (s106 monies), while the council will need to budget for the additional £400 annual running costs.
“We are very aware it’s public money,” added Miss Greenall.
“And we are very careful what we spend the money on.”
Work to repair Victoria Park began in autumn last year, after an out-of-court settlement was reached with Parkway developer Costain.
Cracks started appearing in the park and surrounding area shortly after Costain conducted water extraction works when building the shopping centre’s underground car park in 2010.
The cracks damaged sporting facilities, a nearby nursery school, and some residents complained of damage in their homes.
Costain agreed to pay the council a £600,000 out-of-court settlement, which included all legal costs, but stopped short of admitting any liability for the damage caused.