Damage to John Ray Park Fitness Trail in Braintree

Council staff cleared up the mess and are now working to quickly make the area safe

Braintree District Council staff alerted Essex County Fire and Rescue Service to a fire at Braintree’s John Ray Park yesterday morning (Thursday August 24) at 9:05am which left part of a brand new fitness trail (outside gym) damaged. 
Two parallel rows of tyres used for fitness were alight and one bench was vandalised. Council staff cleared up the mess and are now working to quickly make the area safe until replacement equipment can be installed. It is hoped that the tyres will be replaced within four weeks.

Councillor Wendy Schmitt, Cabinet Member for Environment and Place, said: “We’re doing our best to repair the equipment following this criminal damage but I cannot understand why anyone would want to damage such a fantastic community resource set in a beautiful park.”
Councillor Peter Tattersley, Cabinet Member for Health & Communities, said: “Since opening we’ve had some wonderful comments from residents saying that it is so nice to have somewhere to exercise outdoors for free. Although the fire has put part of the much-loved fitness trail out of use the rest of it is very much open and I’d encourage local residents and fitness groups to show their support by continuing to use this wonderful facility.”

The new equipment at the John Ray Fitness Trail was installed as part of the improvements to John Ray Park, including the new cycle way, funded by developers’ section 106 monies. Councillor Lynette Bowers-Flint, Cabinet Member for Planning and Housing, said: “The timing of the fire means that someone must have seen something. If anyone has any information connected to this wanton act of vandalism please do get in touch with Essex Police.” 
The fitness trail was officially launched in July with the following equipment available for cardio or resistance training:

  • tyres 
  • overhead rings 
  • balancing beams 
  • pull up stations
  • sloping stride jumps 
  • spring boards 
  • parallel dip bars
  • freestyle area 

Anyone with information should call Essex Police’s non-emergency number: 101 or alternatively 01245 49149.  

The crime reference is: 42/121755/17.