RE: Blatant drug use by teens in park (Watford Observer, July 19)

One of the best things that ever happened to Watford was the setting up of two staffed adventure playgrounds, one in the Harebreaks, North Watford and the other in Harwoods Recreation Ground in West Watford. They were places where children between the ages of 5 and 15 years old could play and socialise in a safe environment, supervised and supported by qualified and very experienced play workers along with access to toilets, drinking water and shelter.

READ MORE: Police confirm increase in drug-related reports at Harwoods Recreation Ground

The worst thing to happen to Watford was in 2016 when the closure of both these facilities was proposed by the Liberal Democrat Council, who felt they knew the needs of young people better than the community itself. Straight away parents, children and others, started an organised and well-supported campaign to keep the adventure playgrounds open. This included demonstrations, letters, petitions and attending a Town Hall meeting, but the council still went ahead and demolished the sites and all the staff lost their jobs.

The council spent £1.4 million replacing Harwoods and Harebreaks adventure playgrounds with two adventurous playgrounds, open 24-7 and comprising of static play ground equipment, with no play workers, no toilets, no shelter, no drinking water and dogs able to wander around the play equipment and do their business.

So it’s not surprising that Harwoods adventure playground or now known as adventurous playground has become an area of undesirable activity, with anti-social behaviour, such as drug dealing and drug and alcohol use. It’s no wonder the local community are making so many complaints to the council and to the police. In the past this was something the play workers of both adventure playgrounds would have been aware of and it would have been stopped immediately.

There is no doubt in my mind: the children of Watford were robbed of supervised, stimulating and safe play areas and what for? To blindly implement Tory Government spending cuts at the expense of our children’?

Cllr Mo Mills,

Labour, Vicarage Ward