The committee of the Friends of Preston Park is very disappointed by the high level of anti-social behaviour and vandalism in the Park and the surrounding area in the past few months. There has been an unusually high rate of incidents, ranging from repeated offensive and ugly graffiti on the Chalet Cafe, digging up of part of the cricket pitch and nearby bowling greens, damage to the newly-restored flint walls by the velodrome just days after it was completed, and damage to trees and flower beds, often by vehicles illegally entering the Park.
Litter has been at unacceptably high levels, which as well as being unsightly, also attracts vermin, and much of the rubbish does harm to local wildlife. More and more people are parking illegally and the van dwellers, which have now been served with notices of eviction, are just ignoring them and carrying on inhabiting the Park with many reports of very anti-social behaviour. There have also been complaints too about high levels of noise and music, particularly in the evenings, which neighbours find very annoying and disruptive.
We feel that one of the reasons for all this is that, with continuing cutbacks to budgets, the Council just does not have enough staff to supervise the Park, Sussex Police are no longer able to fund dedicated community police officers, and little enforcement of parking regulations is being carried out. As a result, the minority are openly flouting laws and regulations designed to look after the Park.
We plan to meet with our local councillors and council officers over the coming weeks to discuss how we tackle these issues and what we can do to keep Preston Park safer and more well kept. Meanwhile, we would urge that anyone witnessing anti-social behaviour of any kind to report it by calling Sussex Police on 101, or reporting on the Sussex Police website. The more calls they receive, the more likely they will patrol the Park. Please do your part in stopping this costly and distressing behaviour.