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Spiderman Needed to Stop Parkour in Guildford, Says Councillor

Published on: 23 Mar, 2022
Updated on: 24 Mar, 2022

Aerial view of Guildford High Street with the cupola of the Guildhall indicated – Image Open Street Maps

By Emily Coady-Stemp

local democracy reporter

Spiderman is needed to swoop in and tackle parkour runners causing “considerable and expensive” damage to Guildford roofs, a council meeting was told.

Freerunners are aiming for the cupola of the Guildhall and damaging tiles on top of Market Street buildings. One councillor said he didn’t know how the problem can be solved without superhero intervention.

Signs of damage thought to be caused to High Street roofs by parcour runners. The guildhall roof is on the right. Photo John Redpath

Guildford Borough Council’s Executive discussed changes to its public space protection orders on Tuesday night (March 22), agreeing to extend the town centre boundary to include the whole of Stoke Park, nearby roads and The Mount and to amend some of the activities covered by it.

Cllr John Redpath

But councillor John Redpath (R4GV, Holy Trinity) said he was concerned to see there was not much in the report about roof running, which he outlined counted as trespass and therefore was not a criminal offence.

He said: “I don’t know how we can tackle freerunners unless Spiderman’s about or something.

“But the target apparently is to get up on the cupola of the Guildhall. That’s the big challenge.”

He said he had been up on the Guildhall recently looking at smashed tiles and holes in roofs along Market Street, which the property owners might only find out about when it was too late.

See: The Guildhall Clock, A Close Look at Some Hidden and Rarely Seen Aspects

Cllr Redpath added that another solution might be to put a camera on the Guildhall like the ones that “trigger when a wild animal comes near in the forest” to have a record of who was up there.

The council report noted the issue had not been raised by the public and suggested actions for Experience Guildford, the town’s organisation of businesses, including getting legal advice on alternative anti-social behaviour tools, such as civil injunctions, and encouraging town centre businesses to improve building security and report activity.

Cllr Joss Bigmore

Council leader Joss Bigmore (R4GV, Christchurch) said a conversation would be had with officers about parkour on the town’s roofs, saying it was “causing quite considerable damage and it may be quite expensive damage if it continues”.

Regarding the extension of the order to cover more anti-social behaviour, ward councillor Angela Goodwin (Liberal Democrat, Friary & St Nicolas) said she was fully supportive of plans to extend the area and especially regarding The Mount where there had been “ongoing issues for a number of years.”

Cllr Angela Goodwin

She added: “Myself and the residents who live around here will be absolutely delighted with this.”

Actions now included in the order are rowdy, inconsiderate or anti-social behaviour and taking psychoactive substances or other intoxicating substances, or legal highs.

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