Eastleigh residents will be shocked to discover that the town’s landmark bandstand, so often the centre of community events, has been extensively vandalised.
The Victorian edifice which stands proudly in the Town Centre recreation ground was only renovated two years ago but now faces further repairs after mindless yobs left almost every panel of the decorative wrought iron railings with scrollwork kicked and bent out of shape.
Eastleigh News understands that if the panels cannot be repaired in situ they will have to be sent away to be reheated, reworked and then repainted – possibly putting the bandstand out of use in the meantime – because of the extent of the damage, the repairs could cost thousands of pounds.
One of group of youngsters believed to be as young as 14 was seen by a local resident damaging the railings yesterday afternoon at around 3.30pm.
Police are reviewing evidence and say those found to have caused damage will be dealt with ‘robustly’.
Thanking the member of the public who came forward with information Police Sergeant Chris Spellerberg of Eastleigh Safer Neighbourhoods Teams said:
“We’re grateful for the ongoing support of our residents who are proud of where they live and are not going to be intimidated by marauding groups of young people intent on committing crime and making residents lives a misery”
A spokesman for Eastleigh Borough Council said that the council are still in the process of assessing the damage adding:
“The council is disappointed to learn that damage has been caused to one of the Borough’s most iconic buildings.”
Chris Thomas, Chair of Easlteigh Local Area Committee told Eastleigh News that the last time the bandstand had been renovated a great deal of time had gone into finding rust resistant paint that matched the old Southern Railways colour scheme.
Cllr Thomas vowed the bandstand would be restored as soon as possible adding :
“This damage to an iconic structure in our town centre, with its links to the railway, is both saddening and angering. I understand that the police are investigating and I will be asking the council to seek recovery of the costs of repair”
Anyone with information on the vandalism should contact Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.