Cosham park’s future in the balance after arson attack

Cosham Playground, off Portsmouth Road, Cosham. The playground was set on fire last week and the damage is estimated at �20,000. Picture: Allan Hutchings (141500-218)
Cosham Playground, off Portsmouth Road, Cosham. The playground was set on fire last week and the damage is estimated at �20,000. Picture: Allan Hutchings (141500-218)

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A PLAY park’s future is in the balance after it was set on fire.

Councillors and officers from Portsmouth City Council are meeting this week to decide what will happen to the Cosham playground.

The park, off Portsmouth Road, was set alight last week and most of the equipment was ruined.

The council is considering temporary replacements as permanent equipment could take months to sort out.

Councillor Hannah Hockaday, who is petitioning for pedestrian crossing to be installed near the play park, was left ‘disappointed’ by the vandals. The mum-of-one, who used the park regularly, said: ‘I was really disappointed when I heard about what had happened.

‘I used to go to the park all the time with my three-year-old daughter Phoebe and she even took her first steps up stairs on the climbing frame so it has significance to me.

‘Other families I have spoke too have been disappointed also. It is just such a shame because it was a well-used area.

‘It has been difficult explaining to Phoebe that she can no longer visit the park.’

Cllr Hockaday will be attending the meeting at the council and hopes a like-for-like replacement will be built.

She added: ‘It is too early to tell now what will happen and any potential replacements are unknown.

‘It was a great facility with equipment for all ages so I hope something similar will be built.’

The council has estimated the damage caused will cost around £20,000 to repair.

A spokesman said: ‘The equipment has been effectively destroyed.

‘It’s very early days for calculating the cost of replacement, but a rough estimate is around £20,000.

‘We are talking to our insurers and the replacement process could take months.

‘We’re considering a temporary replacement in the meantime, but this will have to be on a smaller scale.’

The fire, which happened in the early hours, was spotted by two police officers from Hampshire Constabulary on a routine patrol.

A spokesman from the police added: ‘We are currently investigating an arson attack on the play park.

‘It was discovered by our patrol team at 3.53am and they called Hampshire Fire and Rescue.’