ANGRY residents of a Malvern housing estate are mounting a campaign to get rid of a play area they say is blighting their lives.

The group lobbied Malvern Town Council last Thursday night, asking for the Avon Close play area to be moved somewhere else.

They say vandals have been causing damage to the play equipment, lighting fires and throwing missiles at neighbouring properties.

Stuart Wollaston, whose home in Hastings Road backs on to the play area, said after the meeting: "There's always been a problem with it but it has been getting worse and worse. This summer we had to put out three fires in quick succession, one of which the fire brigade was called out to.

"We called a meeting of residents (at Priory Lodge Hall) and, ironically, as soon as we got back a whisky bottle was thrown over the hedge and smashed against my neighbour's wall. Fortunately, it didn't go through a window. We've had stones thrown and a few years ago they even brought a three-wheeler in there and drove it around."

The play area is surrounded by a 9ft leylandii hedge, which Mr Wollaston claims is part of the problem.

"It was not originally designated as a play area when the estate was built and the hedge all around the outside means that it's far too enclosed and they feel they can't be seen," he said.

The residents are asking the council to sell the land for housing and use the money to build another play area somewhere more suitable.

However, the park is not used exclusively by vandals.

Jill Budd, of Wykewane, said she regularly takes her grandchildren to the park.

"It's not the facility, because it's a good little facility, it's the misuse of it that's the problem," she said. "However, I'm totally sympathetic to the people who live right next to it. It doesn't affect me as much as it does them."

l Stuart Wollaston points to damage caused by vandals to the surface of the play area. Picture: Debbie Thomson. 4854619