Teen Shelter at Clements Hall

June 25, 2008 by  

DSC03201Hawkwell Parish Council has obtained permission from Rochford District Council to site this new development near the skate board ramp in the playing fields.  Residents at the Central Area Committee held at Hawkwell Village Hall last year voiced their concern but the consultation conducted in the Parish Council Newsletter did not raise any objection.  The Parish Council has the funding and it is now going ahead.

A resident has, however, found out that another teen shelter of a particular design has run into big problems and has had to be removed.  I have asked Hawkwell Parish Council to check this out before going ahead.

From the village of Milton

The site we chose is well away from neighbours at the back of the recreation ground, and beside the skate ramps. So neighbour nuisance has never been a problem. Supervision is minimal there, but there is a light on the adjacent basketball court.

We had suggested to them open shelters like the Ogilvie Engineering one (which I think I would personally recommend).

They wanted something more enclosed, and we ended up with Urban Engineering’s shelter, which was like a nissen hut in perspex, with bench seats inside.

From the start some young people (a minority …) unbolted the fixings, we had to get the manufacturers to put in tamper-proof bolts. The shelter was sold as ‘vandal resistent’ which proved to be an overstatement of the truth. Then the perspex was smashed. It was sharp and dangerous, and to be fair it took a sledge hammer to smash it. We had some metal cladding which the manufacturers had put on at first (not what we had ordered), and in the end we replaced the perspex with metal. Not ideal as the inside was then not visible from a distance.

This lasted for a few years.

Then they started jumping on the roof, and the cladding on the roof was bent up alarmingly. Some of the bolts were hack-sawed off, and it was reported that the shelter was in danger of collapse if any more bolts were removed. At this point the Parish Council decided enough was enough and removed the shelter. It was removed last week.
We are in a village location where policing has not usually been an issue. However it is reported that youths from the nearby outskirts of Cambridge may have been responsible for the damage. Whether this minority is from Milton or from Cambridge, we were clearly unwise to choose such a vulnerable shelter.
The Ogilvie Engineering designs are in cast iron – we have used their seats for about a decade now, and they seem pretty indestructible.



2 Responses to “Teen Shelter at Clements Hall”
  1. Editor says:

    from Stuart Mennell
    date Wed, Jun 25, 2008 at 3:46 PM
    subject Youth Facilities


    Thank you for your email.

    As long as parents allow access to tools that can be used for destructive as well as constructive purposes we will continue to experience criminal damage by young people.

    Most recently we have had a tree sawn down in Magnolia Nature Reserve of sufficient girth to require a two handed saw, prior to that the Parish had laminated glass smashed in a bus shelter on the most trafficked road in the District, Ashingdon Road (and of course no one saw anything), this could only have been done by sledge hammer or something similar.

    Our architect was carefully briefed as to the end use of the shelter. Hence, as you know, it is in crucifix form, open on all sides without glazing. The roof will be a single moulded piece to make piecemeal destructuring more difficult. Any anti social child with enough determination will have the ability to be destructive and damage the shelter and you will not be surprised that I cannot give you the assurance you seek.

    Our project is supported by Rochford District Council and as well as the police and youth service.

    The project also has financial support from the Cory Environmental Trust and the Rochford Crime & Disorder Reduction Partnership

    We will continue to work with our local police to combat, wherever practicable, criminal damage and anti social behaviour. The Parish Council has taken the view that the problems we experience cannot be policed away and they prefer to take a constructive view that focuses on providing for our young people in the belief that the great majority who are reasonable kids will prevail upon those who indulge in mindless destruction.


  2. Editor says:

    Residents have called for Hawkwell Parish Council to have a Public Meeting before the Teen Shelter is built. Hawkwell Parish Council have this on the Agenda for Monday, 7 July.

    Email from a resident

    A number of residents are now getting quite vocal about the lack of response from the Parish to a request for a public meeting to discuss the teen shelter, requests which were made many months ago

    They have asked me to write and advise the Parish Council that they would like to know by close of play on Friday whether the council are going to listen to the requests of the residents and call a public meeting or whether the Council are going to continue without further consultation with the people that will be effected by the shelter.

    The anger of some resident’s is becoming difficult to control as they believe that the Council Members are not listening and letting down the people that put them in office.

    On a personal note, I am amazed about the anger this Teen shelter is causing, and it will not go away without a public meeting, people of all ages are against it, why don’t the council just call a meeting and sort this once and for all.

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