Monday, October 12, 2009

Moving Along

I took the question of the Station Road bench and associated anti-social behaviour problems to the Westgate Residents Association this evening to receive their views on what should be done about the problem of it being used as a congregation point for large groups of teenagers in the evening.

As well as Cllr Tom King chairing the event, with Kent County Councillor, Robert Burgess present, Sergeant Lara Connor, who is heading the Police Task Team, also dropped-in to brief those present on how the anti-social behaviour was being tackled and to lend her voice to the request that the bench should be re-located elsewhere.

To cut a long story short, the consensus is that in principle, the existing bench, presently sited outside the Piggy Bank nursery, should be repaired and moved to a more attractive spot, perhaps overlooking the beach. In its place Cllr King and I have agreed to fund from our councillors special allowance, a second bench, of a much lighter construction, which the owner of the nursery has kindly agreed to take in during the evening and put out during the day. This way, we believe that elderly residents will be able to use it as intended as a resting point during their shopping and the anti-social element will be denied its use in the evenings and will no longer congregate outside the off-licenses.

On Tuesday, I'm also meeting with the station manager and will be asking for a bright light outside the station, which will also make it unattractive as a gathering point. I would add that none of this is offered as a solution to Westgate's current teenage problems but it's a start in reclaiming the village back in the evenings from the groups of troublemakers who have appeared in the last couple of months.

Should anyone have any objections to this solution, then here's a good place to bring them to my attention.


Anonymous said...

Simon this is very commendable and it is good, for a change, to see different individuals and groups working together to improve things and not just accepting that this is "broken Britain" and that nothing can be done. Keep up the good work!

DrM. said...

Thank you.

I met with the station manager this morning and he will attempt to persuade SouthEastern to install a bright light over the station entrance to deter youths congregating in the shadows by the bus stop.

No promises but it does make sense, given that the station has also been regularly vandalised of late!

Anonymous said...

Good work Simon,

Typical station manager to be hesitant about what tey can do though. Might also help if they were to instal one of those high pitched tone devices that teenagers can hear and the over 20s can't!

Anonymous said...

This seems an ideal solution to the problem and I'm pleased to hear that there will still be somewhere for the elderly to sit during the day. However, what will you do when they decide to sit on the pavement ? Remove that too ? Will we see brickwalls with glass shards cemented on the top as on Councillor Camerons garden wall ? Funny, I thought that was illegal, seems one rule for the councillor....etc. Perhaps you could take up this point with him as it seems quite unnecessary and very anti-social considering his garden can be accessed from other places. It also looks awful.

DrM. said...

I think the bench may have been removed today but we appear to have run into a problem with the replacement solution presented previously, in that street furniture has to be of an approved construction and design for a number of reasons, Health & Safety and insurance to name but two.

I'm afraid the simplest solutions are invariably the most difficult to implement where local Government regulations are concerned but rest assured I'm working on it, as I'm sure is Cllr King from the Residents Association.