As regular late evening walkers in Skegness we’ve seen teenagers hanging around the Sunshine Play Area in the late evening. At times there’s over 20 teenagers hanging out and messing around on the play equipment and some are not exactly careful with the play equipment designed for young children!

We understand there’s been a lot of vandalism caused on the Sunshine Play Area and the Skegness Town Council are looking for ways to tackle this problem.

I’m sure it’s been suggested on more than one occasion, but the most obvious solution is to add a gated fence which is locked in the evening. If the sort of fence around the Embassy Swimming Pool were used (apparently painted with a greasy paint that presumably stains clothing) it would deter the majority of teenagers, they’d move on.

Other possible solutions:

Reducing the light sources over/around the Sunshine Play Area, if it’s too dark to see no one will go there! Far from an ideal solution since it’s quite a nice walk in that area late in the evening, so I’d rather not see the lights turned out. Also not a solution during the summer months when it’s light late in the evening.

Regular police attendance or CCTV could be an option, but expensive and unless teenagers are going to be prosecuted there’s not a lot of deterrant in being moved on only to retun the next night.

Where Should Teenagers Hang Out in Skegness?

If you can persuade the teenagers to leave this child’s play area alone we then have the issue of where will they congregate next?

Ideally they’d go home when they have nothing to do, but we all know that is highly unlikely to happen, so why not give them somewhere to go for free: it’s got to be free and available 7 days a week every evening?

We think a solution might be a very basic, difficult to vandalise outdoor structure where teens can hang out and not cause too much trouble all year round. A lot of teens just want somewhere to be with other teenagers to socialise on their terms, if we don’t supply it they will use whatever is available to them like the young kids play areas. Build something in concrete/metal so it’s hard to damage (wood/plastics can be broken/burnt easily) and make it suitable for basic skateboarding. A simple outdoor structure (minimal maintenance) with a little cover from the elements (but not too much cover), concrete steps for sitting/skateboarding on and as long as it’s not too much out of the way it might attract Skegness teenagers.

You could even give them a few walls to graffiti on so they are less likely to tag other areas of Skegness.

We lived in Grimsby before buying a property in Skegness. Grimsby is far from perfect for teenagers, but one thing that was used by teenagers was a free skateboarding area on Kent Street. The free skatepark at Grimsby isn’t a particularly great skatepark, but it’s free and loads of kids used it. Attached was a free 5 a side size hard surface area (tarmac) for football/basketball which as a family we regularly used. The place was filled with teenagers in the evening both using the skatepark and just hanging out and we never had any problems when we went to play football/basketball with our kids: biggest problem we’d have is because we were having fun we’d get the odd kid hanging around hoping to be invited to play!

As a side note we have no where in Skegness to kick a ball around in the winter months, we need a hard area for kids to play football etc… for free when the grass is wet.

This sort of area is completely lacking in Skegness, if we don’t give teenagers something to do in the evenings some will cause trouble.

Is it cheaper to allow them to regularly damage children’s play equipment and give Skegness and Skegness teenagers a bad reputation or build something specifically for teenagers to do to keep them out of trouble?

If you have any comments or ideas please post them below.

Particularly interested to hear from teenagers who are hanging around the Sunshine Play Area at night, what do you want the Skegness Town Council to provide for you?

David Law