'Mindless destruction' at newly-opened pocket park

Information boards and stepping stones were vandalised at the Ellenor Fenn Garden in Dereham

Information boards and stepping stones were vandalised at the Ellenor Fenn Garden in Dereham - Credit: aboutDereham

A town has reacted with sadness after its newly-opened park was vandalised. 

Information boards, plants and stepping stones were smashed at the Ellenor Fenn Garden, in Dereham, at some point on Friday night into the early hours of Saturday morning (January 7-8). 

A scene from the opening of the Ellenor Fenn Garden in Dereham

A scene from the opening of the Ellenor Fenn Garden in Dereham - Credit: Keith Mindham Photography

The pocket park, off Wrights Walk, only opened in September and was hailed as a "fabulous asset" to the town centre. 

The site had been empty scrubland concealed by unsightly blue hoardings for 16 years, but was finally given a new lease of life with the help of groups including aboutDereham, Breckland Council and Dencora, which manages the adjacent shopping centre.  

Alison Webb, one of Breckland's councillors for the area, said the criminal damage incident was in stark contrast to the community spirit shown during recent events at the park.

Information boards were vandalised at the Ellenor Fenn Garden in Dereham

Information boards were vandalised at the Ellenor Fenn Garden in Dereham - Credit: aboutDereham

She added: "I went to the Christmas event and it was so lovely, with about 200 people there. That day really inspired me with regards to the community we have in Dereham. 

"Unfortunately, we have a few individuals who try and spoil things for the majority.

"It is totally unacceptable behaviour, and what they have not thought about is their future - when they have families and may want to take their own children to the park. 

District councillor Alison Webb is unhappy about the fence Orbit Homes has erected on Cherry Lane, D

Alison Webb, Breckland councillor for the Dereham Neatherd ward - Credit: Archant

"What we need to do is try and band together, identify who these people are and try to find out why they feel the need to do things like this."

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The Ellenor Fenn Garden was named after a prolific 18th-century educationalist, who spent much of her life in Dereham.

As well as providing a green space, Dereham's new park boasts a performance area where live entertainment can be hosted in years to come - hopefully boosting footfall in the process. 

Stepping stones were vandalised at the Ellenor Fenn Garden in Dereham

Stepping stones were vandalised at the Ellenor Fenn Garden in Dereham - Credit: aboutDereham

A spokesman for aboutDereham said: "We worked very hard to create this new community space for the benefit of people in Dereham - and especially the children.

"We simply cannot understand why anyone would destroy these items which have been created with such care. It is mindless destruction."

Norfolk police confirmed officers were aware of the incident, adding that enquiries were ongoing. 

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