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EAST of Melksham residents concerned about anti-social behaviour in the field next to the Primrose Drive play area, are being encouraged to report all incidents to the police.
That’s the advice of Melksham Town Council, who have explored combatting the anti-social problem by impeding access to the field – an idea that has reached a dead end.
According to the town council, residents have reported that young people on scooters are gathering in the field next to Primrose Drive play area, resulting in anti-social behaviour. The town council also say that drug use has been reported at the site.
Suggestions to fence the field off, or to install a gate to inhibit access, was found by the town council to not be practical or effective solutions and would cause problems and inconvenience to legitimate users of the facilities.
Instead, town councillors are asking concerned local residents to keep reporting occurrences of anti-social behaviour to the police so they build up a picture of activity and the locations where they occur.
“Every little detail counts, as it helps build up a picture,” said cllr Pat Aves at a meeting of the town council’s economic development and planning committee earlier this month. Cllr Jack Oatley added, “It might seem like nothing is getting done, but each call is getting logged.”
Wiltshire councillor for the east of Melksham, Mike Sankey, has also reported that residents of Heather Avenue and Primrose Drive are “fed up of the behaviour they are being subjected to”, referring to drug taking and anti-social behaviour.
Wiltshire Police has told the town council that they are aware of the issue and has explained that the problem extends beyond scooter riders, and say that issues are more focussed on the Primrose Nature Reserve.
In a report to town councillors about his meeting with Wiltshire Police to discuss anti-social behaviour in the field next to the Primrose Drive play area, the town council’s economic development manager, David McKnight said, “In terms of crime prevention; there’s already a lot of natural surveillance – there’s lighting; the space is open; the environment is generally tidy and there’s already an informal Neighbourhood Watch and plenty of private CCTV.
“Wiltshire Police don’t think that a ‘design out’ solution can be achieved at this location without disadvantaging legitimate users. Where problem individuals do keep cropping up, the police are identifying them and steering them onto Early Intervention Schemes, or to the Youth Offending Team, to try and tackle the issues from that angle. Their view is that this seems to be quite an effective solution and it works on a much larger geographical area.”
It was also suggested that the area could be a CCTV hot spot as part of the town council’s plans for a new CCTV system covering a number of areas around the town.