POLICE have objected to a proposal to site beehives on a disused bowling green - amid fears they would become a target for vandals.

Darlington Beekeepers Association hopes to place up to ten hives on the redundant green on the Bowling Dene park off Bartlett Street and wants to involve the community in the bees’ upkeep.

The scheme, which has been recommended for approval by council planning officers, is opposed by Durham Police who say that the Brinkburn Denes area is a known meeting point for youths and can be an anti-social behaviour hotspot.

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In a report prepared for the council’s planning applications committee, Durham Constabulary’s Architectural Liaison Officer said: “The Police are concerned that the hives will be consistently targeted with missiles as was the bowling green in the past.

“The existing weldmesh fence was erected because of anti-social behaviour issues, although it is reasonably substantial, the mesh is relatively open and as a consequence easy to climb over.

“It is intended as a demarcation fence rather than a security fence and in my view it will not be effective enough to prevent wilful damage to the hives.

“I acknowledge the bowling green would provide a more amenable location for the beekeepers as opposed to the current location at Bellburn Lane allotments, so it is with some regret that I ask to record this objection on behalf of the police.”

The council’s health and safety adviser mirrored the police’s vandalism concerns and said that although the hives were a good idea, the site was not overlooked so natural surveillance would be difficult.

However, the planning report states that the hives will be fitted with a remote monitoring system which allows the Beekeepers Association to monitor conditions inside the hives, via computers, and would also alert them to theft or vandalism.

Planning officers also pointed out that bringing a vacant site back into use would benefit the general appearance of the locality and create a point of public interest within the Dene.

The report concludes that the council should lease the land to the Association for three years with the option of either party cancelling the lease with a three-month notice if problems arise.

The council’s planning committee will make a decision on the application on Wednesday.