any old iron?

bikecrane, originally uploaded by mukkjoy.

Now you see them…

This picture was taken at Rochester Riverside Park. It is a wide open space stretching from Doust Lane to Gas House Lane in Rochester .

The park used to be a site of old railway sidings, river wharves and stone depots hence the crane you see here. The crane was dismantled when the land was cleared and reassembled and put back as a landmark connection to the sites history.

The site was cleared, cleansed and flood-proofed over the last 18 months or so for the creation of a new waterfront community of 2,000 homes, a hotel, school, medical facilities, shops, restaurants, pubs and cafes. In all it occupies about 66 acres.

It was opened about 5 weeks ago for the period of time prior to the development work beginning in 2009. This is the first time the land has been open to the public for way more than 100 years.

The pathway snakes along the riverside for about 2.5km. It’s absolutely great for bike rides, roller skating and such like activities. We’d been taking the boys down there on their bikes and scooters for the last three Sundays. It’s smooth, safe and quiet.

Lovely. But no more. Last week thieves struck in the night and unbolted a 150m section of the fence you can see here in mukkjoys picture. In all 82 posts and 200 handrails were swiped. About £200,000 worth. It’s assumed it was loaded onto the back of a truck and sold on for cash. Soaring global prices have resulted in metal theft being the fastest increasing crime in the country.

What’s staggering though is that it was the second time in the same week that thieves struck. The first time they stole 100 posts and 148 handrails waiting to be installed at the other end of the site. The security firm that was supposed to be keeping a 24 hour watch over the land have been sacked. In my view they should also have been made to pay compensation for dereliction of their duties.

The consequence of this is that the site has now been closed to the public on health and safety grounds. The plan is to reinstall the fence at some point in the future, solder it in place and step up security. The council tax payer having to foot the bill again. In the meantime though neither we or anyone else can go there anymore. Thieving bastards.

...now you don't

...now you don't (picture by KM Medway Messenger)

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