Cumbernauld Community Park is far from family-friendly

Town's green lung...the park has been valued in the past as it offers a contrast to its surroundings ' densely populated estates, a supermarket and the A80.
Town's green lung...the park has been valued in the past as it offers a contrast to its surroundings ' densely populated estates, a supermarket and the A80.

Cumbernauld Community Park covers 225-acres in a beautiful area of the town – a wide open space for the whole family to visit.

So states the zestful recommendation of visitlanarkshire.com in its ongoing bid to increase visitor numbers to the town.

Regrettably, it would appear to be the wrong sort of visitors who are heading for this ‘green lung’, which is tucked neatly between the A80 trunk road and Eastfield Road.

And some of them are far from family-friendly.

Their destination of choice is again proving to be a glass-strewn magnet for disorder which is making this intended haven a no-go area – prompting calls for park rangers to step in.

The News & Chronicle has received a number of complaints from people who once relished a walk in the park but now steer well clear.

It comes just a year after a series of articles in this newspaper which highlighted distressing incidents of violence and underage drinking, often combined with sexual activity, on the same site.

Craigmarloch’s Robert Nesbitt voiced what is a typical concern.

He said: “A number of dog owners have had their dogs attended to by a vet after cuts to their paws. The average treatment is £300.

“Some women told me they had been intimidated by large groups of youths who were obviously inebriated and rowdy. The women turned and went back in the opposite direction to avoid confrontation.”

Robert also shared details of an encounter which is far from a positive reflection on pupils from a local secondary school some distance away.

He said: “On Friday, April 27, at about 1.30pm, I saw a large group in the quarry area.

“There was a large amount of litter lying on the ground, together with empty Buckfast bottles.

“When I asked one of the male teenagers why they were there, I was told that they were in sixth year at Greenfaulds High and it was their last day at school.

“A short while before, I observed a group of males of a similar age nearby, in the old Craighalbert Road, who were rowdy, obviously drunk, carrying pint tumblers and a bottle of Buckfast tonic wine.

“A few days later, I spoke with two ladies who told me that pupils had turned up to school drunk.

“There is obviously no appetite within North Lanarkshire Council to take action to disrupt the anti-social behaviour of youths within the park.

“I would not expect the police to regularly patrol the park – the policing model has dramatically changed and we now have no localism.

“That includes such factors as identifiable local police officers who possess local knowledge who local people can readily contact and communicate with.”

Cumbernauld North councillor Calum Currie was contacted by Robert.

He said: “I am appalled by the wanton vandalism which is now occurring regularly in the park.

“When I was contacted, I immediately informed the relevant department in NLC and action was taken.

“It would appear those measures weren’t enough though and further steps need to be implemented to resolve the issues.

“I will fully support such steps so that the good citizens of Cumbernauld can enjoy the park without this unnecessary distraction.”

Meanwhile, fellow Cumbernauld North councillor Alan Masterton is also on the case – and he insists that the police are too.

He said:“I have been contacted by a number of constituents concerned at ongoing anti-social behaviour issues which have clearly left many users of the park feeling intimidated.

“I am aware that issues include drinking, vandalism, littering, intimidation and public indecency.

“I have already spoken with Police Scotland and been assured that the police are aware of it and will afford extra attention to the area, whenever possible.

“I have also contacted North Lanarkshire Council to highlight the concerns and to ask if it can consider pro-active measures to tackle the anti-social behaviour.”

NLC and VistLanarkshire issued a statement via community partnership manager Leanne Pollock.

It said: “We are aware that this is a matter of concern for the local community.

“This issue was discussed at a recent meeting of the community safety sub group.

“We are working closely with the police.

“We are also discussing ways in which we can invest in environmental improvements in the park.”