“Please, Bath Newseum” – says one city resident – “help us reclaim our local park!”
The person in question is Gillian Risbridger and she’s asking for help in publicising what she says are ” the problems in Walcot Recreation Ground to “shame” the council into doing something about it.”
Gillians says there is an on-going situation which she reported to the council through ‘Report It’ on the council’s website on 19th August and through ‘FixMyStreet’ a couple of times, “but the council keeps saying they have resolved the issue, closes the tickets, and the problems continue.
Walcot Recreation Ground is used by local residents and businesses to picnic on a sunny day, a safe place to let dogs off the lead, being the only fenced grassed area within Bath with a gate that shuts, by local canoodling teenagers, together with parents and their young children.
This used to be completely grassed, except for the perimeter, but around 10 years ago a lot of trees and shrubs were planted at the bottom by the river wall to encourage wildlife.
There are 2 rough sleepers who have been living in a tent for over 2 months. They defecate on the grass, in the bushes and leave rubbish all around. Needles and rubbish has been found in the shrubs next to the badger setts close to the tent.
On Friday 29th August my puppy picked up a plastic bag of human excrement that was under the tree near the tent, and when I tried to get it off her I ended up showered in human excrement.
At the end of my tether, I reported it to one of the local councillors, who said they would look into it but have not heard back.
As you can see from the photographs taken this morning, the tent is still there, belongings are strewn all around, together with an open bag of rubbish and they continue to defecate in the bushes as shown by the picture of excrement and toilet tissue.
This happens every single summer – tents are put up by rough sleepers, the council appears to do nothing and only when the weather gets too cold do the rough sleepers move away leaving a huge amount of rubbish which locals (myself included) have to clear up, as council workers do not remove rubbish from the bushes.
It was only a couple of months ago that a mattress, hidden in the bushes since last summer was dragged by a concerned Bathonian, out onto the open grass before council workers would take it away.
It is ironic that planting to encourage wildlife, seems to have encouraged rough sleepers and their friends to abuse this area and discourages the council from clearing up the mess they leave.
This is a health hazard, in an area that already has a large rat population. I have suggested to the council that a sign needs to go up on the entrance gate warning parents not to allow their children to play there in case they step on a used needle or human excrement. Please help us to Reclaim our local park.”
I can now update this story with a comment from Cllr Paul Crossley who is Cabinet member for Heritage and Community Services.
He told Bath Newseum:
“Our parks supervisor visited Walcot Recreation Ground on Friday to check the area and there was no waste. We are aware that the rough sleepers have been reported and are confident that our partner agencies will work with them to find an alternative.
As part of our wide range of work to prevent homelessness and to support vulnerable people, Bath & North East Somerset Council commissions Julian House and other local agencies to provide services for rough sleepers, depending on their needs.”