Dame Judi Dench bench defaced in attack on Primrose Hill

Police take notes on a scandal after graffiti attack on eve of opening

The controversial new Primrose Hill summit has suffered a “despicable” attack of vandalism on the eve of its unveiling.

Just days before work was due to be completed on the Grade II-listed vantage point, yobs scrawled graffiti along the entirety of the newly-built York stone wall.

Vandals also daubed purple and white paint on two memorial benches – including one known locally as the “Dench bench” after appearing in Notes on a Scandal, featuring Dame Judi Dench.

Police are investigating the extensive criminal damage and park officers are working to remove it.


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Critics of the perimeter wall and resurfacing – rumoured to have cost �70,000 – said the development’s urban design invites vandalism and has ruined the unique charm of the site.

Trisha Bertram, who has lived in Primrose Hill for 20 years, said: “I’m not surprised that there has been some graffiti. Before you didn’t have the number of seats and the concrete that you could vandalise.

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“The design will always encourage it. It’s all a bit 1970s South Bank. I just think it has taken away the charm of Primrose Hill.

“It’s a stunning beauty spot and there was a rough and ready aspect to it, but now it’s got a municipal look – a concrete monstrosity. “It takes away that sense of achievement when you get to the top of it because it’s like getting to a car park.”

A Royal Parks spokeswoman branded the attack a “despicable” and “mindless act of vandalism”.

Chairman of the Friends of Regent’s Park and Primrose Hill Malcolm Kafetz, who had previously called the project a waste of money, said the site “actually looked quite nice”.

But he criticised the resurfacing work and said it would not solve drainage problems which causes water to cascade off the side of the hill and damage the grass below.

“We have spent from 2000 to now opposing what they’ve done,” said Mr Kafetz. “We have wasted hours of our time on it.

“You don’t need a PHD to know that without installing a proper drainage system, which they haven’t, that the water will still run off the side.”

But some park users have rubbished the criticism levelled at the development.

Allan Fisher, of St John’s Wood, has been landscaping health clubs around the world for years and said the summit needed a facelift.

He said: “It’s one of the most spectacular views of the whole of London and I think they’ve done it out in a way that’s clearly a lot more blended in with the environment as opposed to just leaving it stark.

“You can’t stop change, the sky line has changed radically and it’s right that they do something to make the spot feel a bit more special, because it is.”

Work on the site was set to be finished last night (Wednesday, November 16), but fencing will remain in place while grass regrows around the summit.

Memorial plaques will not be transferred to the benches until the graffiti is removed. Just days before work was due to be completed on the Grade II-listed vantage point, yobs scrawled graffiti along the entirety of the newly-built York stone wall.

Vandals also daubed purple and white paint on two memorial benches – including one known locally as the “Dench bench” after appearing in Notes on a Scandal, featuring Dame Judi Dench.

Police are investigating the extensive criminal damage and park officers are working to remove it.

Critics of the perimeter wall and resurfacing – rumoured to have cost �70,000 – said the development’s urban design invites vandalism and has ruined the unique charm of the site.

Trisha Bertram, who has lived in Primrose Hill for 20 years, said: “I’m not surprised that there has been some graffiti. Before you didn’t have the number of seats and the concrete that you could vandalise.

“The design will always encourage it. It’s all a bit 1970s South Bank. I just think it has taken away the charm of Primrose Hill.

“It’s a stunning beauty spot and there was a rough and ready aspect to it, but now it’s got a municipal look – a concrete monstrosity. “It takes away that sense of achievement when you get to the top of it because it’s like getting to a car park.”

A Royal Parks spokeswoman branded the attack a “despicable” and “mindless act of vandalism”.

Chairman of the Friends of Regent’s Park and Primrose Hill Malcolm Kafetz, who had previously called the project a waste of money, said the site “actually looked quite nice”.

But he criticised the resurfacing work and said it would not solve drainage problems which causes water to cascade off the side of the hill and damage the grass below.

“We have spent from 2000 to now opposing what they’ve done,” said Mr Kafetz. “We have wasted hours of our time on it.

“You don’t need a PHD to know that without installing a proper drainage system, which they haven’t, that the water will still run off the side.”

But some park users have rubbished the criticism levelled at the development.

Allan Fisher, of St John’s Wood, has been landscaping health clubs around the world for years and said the summit needed a facelift.

He said: “It’s one of the most spectacular views of the whole of London and I think they’ve done it out in a way that’s clearly a lot more blended in with the environment as opposed to just leaving it stark.

“You can’t stop change, the sky line has changed radically and it’s right that they do something to make the spot feel a bit more special, because it is.”

Work on the site was set to be finished last night (Wednesday, November 16), but fencing will remain in place while grass regrows around the summit.

Memorial plaques will not be transferred to the benches until the graffiti is removed.

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