A MASSIVE repair job is needed in Greenhead Park after an act of “sheer vandalism”.
The Chinese State Circus used heavy machinery to remove its equipment from the park, churning up the park’s lush grassed areas.
Now Kirklees Council officials face a massive headache to repair the damage in time for a busy summer programme in the park.
The action group Friends of Greenhead Park have condemned the damage and said they feared it would hit planned events.
The park is due to host the charity Race For Life on the weekend of June 21 and 22, and the spectacular People’s Prom and People’s Party on June 28 and 29.
The Carnival and the Multi-Cultural Weekend – which has replaced the Mela – are also planned for July.
And the park is visited by hundreds of people each weekend, enjoying the open spaces.
The circus was set up in the field next to the war memorial from Thurs-day until Bank Holiday Mon-day.
The equipment was removed in two hours on Monday night.
Circus spokesman Todd Christian said the damage was a result of rain.
He said: “Unfortunately we had a lot of bad luck with the weather when we were moving out. We put down metal tracking from the pathway to the field but it was just floating because of the rain.”
Mr Christian added: “We paid a large deposit to the council before moving on to the land.”
Tony Chisholm, of Friends of Greenhead Park, visited the damaged field yesterday morning.
He said: “When I saw the damage I was quite depressed because it comes hard on the heels of the problem we had with a smaller circus a few weeks ago. It seems the lessons haven’t been learnt.”
Mr Chisholm fears that many events planned for this summer will have to be moved.
He said: “There has been many thousands of pounds’ damage done and I doubt if the events this summer will be able to go ahead because of the extent of the damage.
“Potentially this could be very detrimental to things like the dog show and the Race for Life.”
Mr Chisholm added that the circus was not to blame.
He said: “The Chinese State Circus are used to dismantling their equipment in a professional manner but they have no control over the condition of the ground.”
But Clr Mehboob Khan, who represents Greenhead on Kirklees Council, is angry with the circus.
He said: “I’m appalled by the destruction and demand an investigation into how the organisers of this circus have been able to carry out an act of sheer vandalism.
“This has never happened before so what went wrong this time? Was there not adequate supervision?
“I will ask questions at the highest possible level.”
Clr Khan added that local people should not be made to pay for the repairs.
He said: “It should not be the council taxpayer who foots the bill, it should be the organisers of the circus.”
Raymond Turner, of Dalton, was walking his dog past the damaged field yesterday morning..
He said: “I think it’s terrible, it’s the worst I’ve ever seen the field.
“If they come to these places why can’t they clean up afterwards? This is going to be paid for by council taxpayers.”
A Kirklees Council spokeswoman said: “Kirklees Leisure is assessing the situation to ensure that future events can take place.
“Metal tracks were not available at the time of the visit by the Chinese State Circus.”
The spokeswoman did not comment on how long the repair work would take or how much it would cost.