A TOURIST attraction in Promenade Park has been vandalised after being unveiled less than a month ago.

The Maldon Saltmarsh Coast Hub has had the panels on its first floor viewing platform, which oversees the River Blackwater, smashed through by vandals.

The hub was only opened on Friday May 25, and is the biggest of five similar centres across the district.

Maldon resident David Hamilton spotted a group of youths carrying out the vandalism on Tuesday.

He said: “I saw three youths doing their utmost best to destroy the first floor panels in the viewing platform at the recently opened Saltmarsh hub facility.

“After kicking out one panel I shouted at them to stop where upon they quickly made off past the recycling centre.

“I immediately rang Maldon District Council as there was now a gaping hole on the deck making it unsafe to enter.

“Full credit to council staff who informed the park ranger. I went back to the hub on Wednesday and found it was now out of bounds to the public.

“So thanks to the public spirited youths, you know who you are, this cannot be enjoyed by the general public until repairs take place.”

A spokesman for Maldon District Council said: “Regarding the hub, this was a temporary closure only.

“Unfortunately, one of the toughened safety glass panels was broken a couple of weeks ago, we assume as a result of stones being thrown at it.

“This glass panel was then removed and a temporary MDF panel installed to avoid accidents. This panel had been ‘removed’ overnight and, in the interest of public safety, the raised viewpoint was closed while a repair was made.

“Replacement safety glass is due for delivery and installation within the next seven to ten days.”

The spokesman added: “While the public reaction and enjoyment of the new hub has been overwhelmingly positive, we will be installing upgraded cloud-based CCTV so that any further anti-social behaviour or damage can be recorded and perpetrators identified.”