Heavy-duty exercise equipment was installed in Calverley Grounds on January 18 by outdoor gym company, TGO.
It was provided by Tunbridge Wells Borough Council at a cost of £25,000, as part of the authority’s Strategic Management Plan for Calverley Grounds, which was published last year.
The gym had been paid for using Section 106 money – cash received from developers Dandara for spending on community projects – as part of the deal to build the new residential project at the bottom of town, 1887 The Pantiles.
The outdoor gym is aimed at providing the community with a free-to-use way of getting in shape, and included a heavy-duty cross trainer, an exercise bike, a pull down machine and a hand wheel.
The Council were preparing an official launch for the gym on Saturday [February 22], but vandals struck, defacing the apparatus and the newly marked-out surface with graffiti.
Councillor Jane March, the Council’s head of Culture, Leisure and Economic Development said: “It’s so disappointing that people feel the need to damage something that’s meant as a benefit for the whole community, including them. I do urge anyone who has any information to contact the police.”
While the graffiti has been cleaned off the equipment itself, the Council say they are having to seek specialist advice about cleaning the graffiti on the floor surface.
The news comes after the police issued a dispersal order in the town centre last month, following complaints of anti-social and unruly behaviour among youths.
This behaviour has included disorder, criminal damage, abusive language and dangerous cycling in retail areas, parks and other public spaces.
Over the weekend of January 18-19 police enforced the order eight times, dispersing troublesome groups of youths in an attempt to ‘nip in the bud’ anti-social behaviour.