CCTV will be installed in the King George V Park (KGV) at the same time as the festoon lights will be erected, following the town council’s recent decision to install the lights to improve safety.
At the full town council meeting on Monday 30th October, councillors supported a proposal for 12 CCTV cameras to be erected on the light poles.
The proposal was put forward by cllr Jon Hubbard, who had conversations with the town council’s electrical and CCTV expert, Alex Goodhind, in order to save the council money on the job being carried out later.
The plan shows the cameras could be installed in the top left-hand corner of the park, diagonally opposite at the bottom right corner of the park and then up at the top right-hand corner and then one camera over by the Splashpad.
The cost of project will be £3,400 excluding VAT.
“Installation of these cameras would be relatively simple,” says cllr Jon Hubbard. “By my reckoning, if we were looking at doing this piece of work on its own, I reckon you could add on another £3,000 for that, for additional labour costs.”
However, on the plans cllr Jon Hubbard noted there was no provision for CCTV in the skate park. He said that the wiring was never extended to this area. However, by installing some additional technology to feed the cables into the ground, it would be possible at a further cost of £13,050.
“My proposal is that members support those options because it gives us outstanding coverage of the park and it means the pathways that are going to be lit up also carry CCTV protection and it means we will have additional coverage at the skate park and the youth shelter for protection in that far end.”
Endorsing the installation of cameras as a ‘deterrent’ and to help the local police if any incidences of crime or anti-social behaviour occur, sergeant Gemma Rutter said, “Not only would it help us detect any offences that occur, we know historically we have had issues in the skate park and we have had issues with play equipment being damaged. I think we also need to consider deterrents as well. I think everybody should feel safe in that park. I know the lighting is going to make a huge difference because now that is a very dark area. If we look at Melksham wanting to make everybody safe, I think the fact that it’s covered by CCTV will certainly make female joggers and sports users feel much more comfortable. It will help myself and my team certainly detect crime, should it occur in the park.”
However, questioning whether it’s necessary for the council to install 12 cameras in the KGV, cllr Claire Forgacs said, “When I first saw this, I thought that’s a bit of an overkill for the park. I can understand certain areas like the skate park and the café, but I don’t understand 12 cameras in the park. It’s going to be like being in a goldfish bowl and is that really necessary? We’ve got the lighting going up for the safety aspect because everybody said they wanted it to feel safer, but I don’t get the use of 12 cameras.”
Town’s CCTV under review
Currently the town’s CCTV is under review to assess where cameras should be installed around Melksham. At the meeting, cllr Simon Crundell proposed an amendment to the motion, for members to wait until the review has finished at the end of the year, before progressing with the project.
But this was not supported by councillors who were in favour of getting the work finished, rather than waiting and doing it at a later date.
“This is just going to be the cherry on top and finalise that safety aspect of the park and give people confidence walking through,” said deputy mayor, cllr Tom Price. “Ultimately, it’s not actually that much money extra spend when we think about how much the lights are now and that we were willing to spend £70,000 on lighting. I do get complaints from residents about the anti-social behaviour and they are asking me what’s being done. We have the police here who are endorsing this and I think we’d be foolish to ignore that.”