Staffordshire County Council bricked up sections beneath the ramps at the popular park off Cherry Close last month.
Local park dweller Kev Slagson, 19, commented:
‘When we were told the Council were coming to do some brickwork I thought, great, it’s about time we got some walls on these homes. So I left them to it while I went to the methadone clinic.
‘I was gob-smacked when I got back, it was totally bricked up – they’d only gone and forget to put in any bloody doors. So I’ve had to knock through, it’s not vandalism, I was just installing my own doorway. Admittedly I didn’t make a very good job of it, but I blame three years on the crap bricklaying course at Chase Terrace Collage for that.’
Kevin found himself homeless earlier this year after his mother threw him out of the eight bedroomed Bromford Housing home in the Dimbles. Mother of five Greta Slagson said:
‘As soon as the bedroom tax started to bite I had to do something., Kev had to go for a start off, waster that he is, I’ve not even been getting child benefit for him for months. I’ve sublet his room to a travelling salesman, lovely chap, always asks politely before he climbs into my bed after a night out.’
Having been thrown out of his own home Kevin embarked on his journey to the fabled former socialist enclave of Burntwood .
‘It was an arduous journey,’ Kev recalls. ‘Battling through the harsh winter but eventually I happened upon Burntwood, the forgotten outpost beyond the Wall.’
Exhausted and destitute, Kevin was taken in by the local Youth Centre. They provided him with food and an old snooker table for a bed. Former youth worker Barrington Weaver explained:
‘Kev was in a poor way when he arrived on our doorstep. My first thought was to take him to the new Burntwood Health Centre but then I remembered that we don’t have one. So I tried to get him registered with a local GP only to discover that most doctors had already abandoned the town.’
Things went from bad to worse as Kevin was made homeless again when the Youth Centre was closed down by Staffordshire County Council in March 2015.
‘Fortunately the skate park is right next to the Youth Centre and the ramps provide excellent shelter, especially if you can get a fire going down there. Before long I’d settled in and was inviting mates round for beer and drugs parties, the music was awesome, even the local neighbours joined in, throwing shapes and shouting from their bedroom windows. The park is known as a real hot-spot now.’
Not all residents who live near the park, known locally as Dolophine Square, are so enthusiastic. One neighbour Sheila Sparrow who does not want to be identified said:
‘My life is a living hell and having these weirdos in my back garden doesn’t help. The park is attracting drug dealers and I’ve even seen that Pastor Sandy and his sister from 7’s Nightclub wandering around with cans of hot soup, it’s a disgrace. I’d call the police but there aren’t any left in Burntwood these days.’
Publicity shy local County Councillor Sue Norman commented:
‘Youngsters need better facilities in the town. This is a reaction to the county council closing down the youth centres.
‘I’m going to start a petition.’
Mike Lawrence Cabinet Member for Children and Community Safety said
‘It is disappointing that a small group of individuals seem determined to vandalise their new homes and ruin it for all the other young people who will be destitute on the streets when we finalise the closure of Burntwood in 2016.’
FOLLOWING his successful ‘sacking’ as Conservative Party vice-chairman Michael Fabricant has run away to join another circus. The Lichfield member hasn’t had far to go – during the Parliamentary Easter recess he will be performing in and around the City with the American Circus clown troupe.
The publicity-shy 79 year-old former Tory whip said:
‘I met Party Chairman Grant Schapps and had a very informal meeting. He told me to resign, I told him to fuck off, he told me that I was sacked and we parted the best of friends.
‘This gives me more freedom to tweet and act the buffoon at the taxpayers expense. If you think that I’ve been free and easy in the past you aint seen nothing yet.’
Circus manager Ian Thomas, who also performs as Gingernuts the Clown, said:
‘We are delighted to have been invited back to entertain the citizens of this great historic cathedral city and it is fantastic that Fabricuntio the Clown can join us for a few days.’
Not everyone was impressed, a publicity stunt earlier in the week caused two pounds worth of damage to the newly opened skatepark. Lichfield District Council chief chain-wearer and ribbon-cutter Derek Leytham explained:
‘Within hours of the official skatepark opening the Lichfield Member was seen jumping on another bandwagon, this time in the form of a circus advertising trailer. This was being pushed by a group of his Twitter sycophants in the direction of the Bowling Green. He ran off to his meeting when the trailer careered into one of the skate bowls.’
Shortly afterwards Mr Fabricant was almost ‘mown down’ by a passing motorist whilst crossing the road to the pub. Police are appealing for witnesses who may have seen a red Renault Clio in the vicinity being driven by what a police spokesman described as a ‘Grinch’ like teenager.
Blue Brattle, a former chairman and honorary vice president of Clowns International who performs as Clown Bluey, is in town this weekend and said :
‘There is an image problem for clowns at the moment, some people think we are sinister. It’s not helped by the likes of Fabricuntio. There is even a recognised phobia now called coulrophobia – a fear of clowns being re-elected with an increased majority. It’s a beep-beep disgrace.’
Some locals are also in two-minds about the circus. Charles Holloway, a 53 year-old unfulfilled and disillusioned father of one who suppresses his feelings of abject personal failure by spending time on the BSARA committee told 5SL:
‘My son Will and his mate Jim Nightshade were very excited when the circus appeared from nowhere overnight, they went there on the day and had a great time. But then they went back again last night and came home terrified. I’ll be writing a letter of complaint to Staffordshire County Council and South Staffs Water.’
The promoter of the circus, Cougar & Dark Pandemonium Shadow Shows Limited, dismissed the complaint. The company’s director Susan Cougar, the self-publicist, part-time councillor and deputy Police and Crime Commissioner, said:
‘We try to cater for all tastes so in the evenings our entertainment is a little more edgy and adult-orientated, being a little bit scarey is all part of the fun.’
But Will is not convinced that what he saw was just an illusion, from behind the sofa he said:
‘It was the carousel that really spooked us. That nice clown Fabricuntio got on board and it started going backwards, before our eyes he changed from an old joke into a younger serious well educated politician. He kept on saying “I’ve fooled them all, I’ve fooled them all!” ‘
Local Labour parliamentary candidate Chris Whatshisname was keen to visit the circus but was busy campaigning in Tamworth. He said:
‘I hope to have found my way to Lichfield in time for next year’s circus. I can then ride that carousel fast forwards.
‘I aim to be at least 35 years-old by the time of the General Election,’ added the 17 year-old.
Hat tip to Ray Bradbury