VANDALS have daubed graffiti over a new youth shelter only hours after it was completed.
The £10,000 shelter in Robert Ashton Memorial Park, Meltham, designed to keep youngsters off the streets, was installed on Friday.
But by the time of its grand launch on Saturday a number of graffiti tags were already visible.
The shelter was opened by officials including Kirklees councillor Terry Lyons, Meltham Town Council chairman Duncan Crawshaw, and members from police, fire and youth services.
It had been widely approved of by Streetscene youth workers and the Neighbourhood Policing Team as a vital tool in combating anti-social behaviour in the town.
But Clr Lyons, the driving force behind the project, said he wasn’t worried about the tagging.
“I was expecting it, I’m glad because they’re making it their own.
“It’s hardly anything, if they’d have set fire to it or taken a sledge hammer to it I’d have been upset, but not this,” he said.
“I think the novelty will wear off,” he added.
Clr Lyons had previously said if there was evidence of vandalism or trouble at the shelter it was likely to be removed, unless it was shown to be people from outside of the area.
But he maintained this graffiti was only small scale and would not threaten the future of the shelter or another one planned for Brockholes.
Mrs Judith Powell, the only Meltham Town Council member to vote against the erection of the shelter, said there were already problems with the site and she was worried about children falling from the top of the shelter.
“It’s already got graffiti on it and there are numerous cigarette ends, broken bottles and condoms on the floor,” she said.
“I’m not against the idea of youth shelters, just the siting of this particular one,” she added.
Meltham Town Council chairman Mr Crawshaw also said he was not surprised by the graffiti and the climbing.
“It’s par for the course, kids will climb on it, I would do the same thing at their age,” he said.
“One more piece of graffiti has appeared since Saturday, but it’s not serious enough to be painted over yet,” he added.
The controversial shelter was the subject of heated debate at a Meltham Town Council meeting in August when Clr Lyons accused Mrs Powell of coercing objection letters to the project, but it was subsequently approved by a nine to one majority.