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Police forced back to being High Street traffic wardens

Wednesday, 20th June 2012.

Illegal parking and driving in Haverhill High Street has been moved up the police agenda again by complaining residents.

Motorists will face another crackdown after a public meeting voted this as a police priority for the next three months.

The public forum of Haverhill Safer Neighbourhood Team, meeting on Monday night at the Days Inn Hotel, also voted for officers to concentrate on anti-social behaviour in Queen Street, and on rowdy groups of people leaving the town centre through the Chalkstone estate after 3am, causing a nuisance to residents.

High Street parking has been a police priority before, with hundreds of warnings and parking tickets being issued, to little effect.

The priority was ditched when it looked as though a pedestrianisation scheme was coming forward, involving barriers closing the street off to traffic completely from 10am to 4pm.

Since this fell through, residents have again called for greater enforcement of the current regulations restricting driving between those times, and of the double yellow lines.

Police chiefs have declared the pointlessness of enforcement unless there is a full street closure with barriers, and are know to be unhappy with officers spending time dishing out parking tickets instead of being on patrol.

But Monday's meeting, attended by more than 20 residents, including councillors, again raised the issue as a potential priority, and when it came to the voting it received the most votes.

The meeting divi9ded into groups to come up with issues needing attention, and John Burns, speaking for one of the groups expressed frstration that no one knew what was happening about High Street pedestrianisation.

"It's not just High Street, either," he said. "It's Queen Street and the lane from Queen Street to The Pightle.

"People complain of the possible illegal use of blue badges by relatives of blue badge holders. Cars are parked all over High Street and Queen Street and drivers use High Street as a rat run.

"We'd like to see a traffic warden brought back, or making it the responsibility of car park attendants to deal with it."

Another group raised the same issue and also asked for the return of a traffic warden.

Suffolk Police Authority has dispensed with traffic wardens altogether, and Suffolk County Council has so far refused moves to de-criminalise parking so that an attendant or locally-employed warden could be given the power to hand out ticklets.

The other priorities were concerned with rowdy or abusive behaviour. One will look into allegations of anti-social behaviour by 15 to 18-year-olds in Queen Street, including harrassment, abuse, drug use and drug-dealing.

But those complaining also stressed to police they did not want the young people criminalised and urged that other solutions should be sought.

The third priority will address the concerns of residents on the Chalkstone estate about groups of people causing disturbance on their way home from the town centre after 3am.

There are now premises open to that time on Friday and Saturday nights and residents complained revellers were rowdy on their way home and woke residents up.

The three previous priorities were all discharged at the meeting. Action is being taken to create another entrance at Place Farm Primary School which it is hoped will alleviate the parking problems, described as 'inconsiderate' at the previous meeting.

Police had been unable to find much evidence of East Europeans drinking alcohol at the Aeroplane Park play area on the Chalkstone estate, and the third issue, the lack of a path on Chalkstone Way between the new football ground and Green Road, is the subject of a multi-agency meeting tomorrow.

Haverhill Online News

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