Vandals ruin work to renovate quarry site

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MINDLESS yobs have trashed a new Doncaster park being brought back to life by unemployed people.

Vandals have targeted the former rundown site in Balby, currently undergoing major improvements to transform it into a recreational area for the community, on several occasions over the past month.

Their latest attacks took place over the Bank Holiday weekend when more fencing was stolen and a picnic bench destroyed by fire.

Fencing and picnic tables were also torched in previous incidents at Woodfield Quarry, off Woodfield Road, which has recently taken on a new lease of life as part of a project to improve the derelict piece of land.

The area was once associated with anti-social behaviour.

The Intermediate Labour Market Project, funded through the Work, Skills and Enterprise Programme, took on local long-term unemployed people to help carry out the improvement work.

Over several months, they have been working hard to clear overgrown woodland to encourage new growth, clear rubbish, develop a continuous path around the quarry allowing for wheelchair access, erect fences in areas with steep edges and help develop a natural habitat.

The project has been so successful that it was also shortlisted as a finalist for the MJ Awards 2011 in the Public Protection Achievement of the Year category.

Gavin Baldwin, Assistant Director of Communities, said: “A considerable amount of hard work and care has gone into rejuvenating this area and the transformation was already becoming visible.

“The work has been warmly welcomed by local people.

“Not only did it provide work and training for the unemployed but it also aimed to create an area of green space with ecological and biodiversity interest as well as a safe environment for recreational use.

“It was hoped that the project would leave a positive lasting legacy for the community.

“It is disheartening for the community that there are some people who feel the need to ruin all the good work.

“We will be making sure we are extra vigilant and that their mindless att acks do not continue.”

Anyone with information about the vandalism is urged to contact the South Yorkshire Police Balby and Hexthorpe Safer Neighbourhood Team on 01302 385339.