Call for better youth facilities after Martlesham control tower falls victim to more vandals

Museum manager Ian Lisseman at the Martlesham Control Tower Museum where vandals have caused damage.

Museum manager Ian Lisseman at the Martlesham Control Tower Museum where vandals have caused damage. Grafitti sprayed on the Anderson shelter - Credit: Archant

Martlesham Heath control tower site has twice fallen victim to trespassers in recent week, leading to calls for improved youth provision in the area,

Sometime between Sunday, July 12 and Wednesday, July 15, the Second World War Anderson air raid shelter, which had just been stripped and repainted by volunteers and had a new metal door installed ready to be reopened to the public, was emblazoned with graffiti.

Metal mesh sheeting was also ripped from the stairwell leading down to the shelter meaning that pupils visiting from Kesgrave High School could not enter that part of the site for safety reasons.

The museum team has since spent three Wednesday mornings removing the graffiti and repainting the shelter, with repair work to the stairwell still to take place.

Museum manager Ian Lisseman said that while the incidents had upset the volunteers, there was a degree of understanding as there was nothing to keep youths entertained in the village.

“It’s the end of term saga,” he said. “I used to do youth work so I understand there’s nothing for the mid-range teenager to do around here. There’s playgrounds for the younger children and anybody aged 17 and 18 does what they want, but that age range of 14 to 17, what are they supposed to do?

“Although we are annoyed at what has happened, we also understand. It’s a difficult situation.

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“The big thing in the equation is people destroying something that’s there for remembrance. Someone has got to take the time to put this back together and sort it out. There’s a lot of us of the age where we have got back trouble and it’s not easy.

“In their lifetimes, some of them around that age group from 17 were already piloting airplanes and shooting guns and their memories of that age is totally different from what’s going on now.”

Mr Lisseman said he had tried to campaign for better youth facilities as part of the Martlesham Heath local plan, but had seen no progress.

“There seems a disinterest in the area, even from parents that have got that age of children,” he said. “What we would like to do is find some way of getting [youths] interested in the control tower site, if not joining in then treating it with a bit of respect.”

The site opens to the public every Sunday from 2pm to 5pm from April to the end of October. It is hosting a fun day on Sunday, September 6.

Suffolk Police have been unable to trace anyone in relation to this incident. Anyone with information should call Suffolk Police on the 24-hour 101 number quoting WO/45/1217

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