Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Bench Press

I've been at the ecrime 'Mid-year' Forum in London and arrived home a little earlier this evening at Westgate station, far from impressed – as you may not from my 'Tweet' on the sidebar, to discover around fifteen to twenty teenagers gathered around the problem bench outside the station.

Expecting to find the promised Police presence, I was disappointed that I had to call and request a visit and a car was promptly sent in the direction of Westgate.

As far as I'm concerned as a local councillor, 'Zero tolerance' to Westgate's anti-social behaviour problems means just that and that implies a constant presence on a regular basis until the problem is solved. Perhaps with the appearance of dispersal orders this Friday, we'll see a little more progress.

With the support of the traders and Councillor King to remove the bench and planters (Councillor Goodwin is away) I'm going to put the matter to the Westgate Resident Association next Monday evening where it can be properly debated. Quite clearly the bench outside 'The Piggy Bank' nursery is acting as a focal point for a persistent community problem and we need to resolve it, one way or the other. However, thinking back wistfully to my youth when retired residents used to rest there may be a little fanciful. Many residents will be only too familiar with the two or three of our better-known and more colourful recovering alcoholics being cared for in the community, who can normally be found sitting on the bench breaking their thirst or possibly even the benches at Adrian Square or at the corner of Sea Road and Westgate Bay Avenue. I'm not convinced that the people of Westgate have any sentimental attraction to this image of the village that this particular seating scarred and battered arrangement presents to either passers-by or the children in the adjacent nursery.

Residents views are welcomed.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Your views of a "rose tinted" past are relevant. I don`t think that youth thirty years ago or now behave any differently. But that`s the point. We should be striving for a better community and not accepting what was common thirty, forty, or fifty years ago. As it is now not acceptable (or safe)for members of the public to admonish what to them is unacceptable behaviour, committed by persons known or unknown to them, we should have an organization which can take on that role. The police spring to mind but it needs to be a visible 24hrs role, sadly lacking today. One other thing-they need our public backing!

Michael Child said...

Simon not knowing Westgate that well a couple of questions come to mind.

One is, is there anywhere there where it would be OK for teenagers to congregate?

The other is there anything there for teenagers to do?

I remember years ago in Stevenage there was similar problem although the town had a youth centre and many other facilities, they all cost money.

The problem there was solved by using the crypt of the church for teenagers, it is a modern church with an almost indestructible concrete crypt, perhaps there is a similar bunker in Westgate.

As you pointed out in your comments on the previous post you can’t really arrest them for being teenagers and stopping them congregating at all anywhere has connotations of Stalin or Hitler.

With councillors already promoting the use of council venues for Satanists one would have thought that somewhere could be found for teenagers.

DrM. said...

Michael

There's an expensive new activity area opened in the Lymington road only a month or so ago after years of trying to achieve one!

It's not so much congregating as congregating and drinking and causing over 160 anti-social behaviour incidents in a month, much like the Broadstairs experience of the same!

It has to be stopped.. people have a right to a peaceful existence devoid of gangs of abusive hooded teenagers running around charged-up on cheap Stella!

John said...

Simon, there is anecdotal evidence that classical music played at a reasonable volume will shift them - but where to? These guys with Stella are not interested in "organised" facilities like Lymington. A boxing club might do the trick. I say this as someone who does not support the sport in principle but I accept that it does give some people a focus they would not otherwise have. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

This all sounds 'anti-teenager' to me ! I remember visiting my brother in in Somerset some years 20 years ago and there was a 'zero tolerance' attitude adopted by the police. Local youths in gatherings of 2 or more were dispersed. All this managed to do was raise hatred of the police and further problems developed. Surely, if these kids are known to the police, can't they be collected up and either returned home or inconvenienced by a few hours sitting in the police station being 'processed' (names, addresses etc taken). Oh! I forgot, the police station closes after 5 doesn't it ! What about letters to the parents of those concerned ? Or a visit by the police to their parents with a stern warning ? Take away the bench by all means, I can shop elsewhere, Westgate Residents Association is run by Tom King so it is obvious his opinion will be the only one that counts ! What a farce ! How many of the 8,000 residents are members ? Hardly representative of the Westgate residents is it!

Anonymous said...

I THINK YOUR LAST COMMENTS POSTED ARE VERY TRUE TOM KING RUNNS THE RESIADETS ASS AND WHEN HE ASKS THEM TO JUMP THEY ASK HOW HIGH AND JUST THINK THIS ASS WAS THE VERY PEOPLE WHOOM FAULT TOOTH AND NAIL TO KEEP THE SEAT ALSO THERE MEMBERS SHIP IS AS THEY SAY OVER THE 1200 MARK BUT NOTHIG IS EVER SENT OUT FOR THERE SO CALLED MEMBER TO COMMENT ON WHAT A JOKE THAT IS THE SAME OLD DOZEN OR SO PEOPLE EVERY WEEK AND IT IS CALL THE WESTAGTE AND WESTBROOK RES ASS THATS A JOKE IN IT SELF DON,T YOU THINK

Anonymous said...

Oh yes. Their parents really care about them and would be deeply concerned by a police visit!!
When you join the rest of us living in 2009 you might just realise most of the problem is because these kids parents couldn't care less and never have.
The parents were kids themselves when they gave birth. The poor kids have never had a chance. They have kids too young to get a flat and the whole thing just carries on with the rest of us paying for it. They don't respect themselves so why do you think they don't respect anyone or anything else.
All the same I don't see why I should have where I live screwed up just because they've had a hard time. I'm a law abiding, tax paying citizen who actually knows where my teenage children are!