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Residents up in arms about yobbishness generated around Tesco

Wednesday, 9th March 2011.

Some long-time residents near Haverhill's Tesco store say they no longer want to live there because of the yobbish behaviour it has generated in the area around.

Residents who packed into last night's public meeting of Haverhill Safer Neighbourhood Team brought a lengthy list of issues to the attention of the town's police, from parking and dangerous dogs to anti-social behaviour.

The third of the new quarterly meetings was held at the Tesco cafe and attended by 40 people, the best turnout at any of the meetings so far.

The SNT, which sets three priorities to work on each month, began with just one still 'live', as others had been cleared up.

But it soon emerged that one concerning anti-social behaviour in Strasbourg Square was still very much alive in neighbouring areas.

Residents near the Aeroplane Park on the Chalkstone estate told the meeting the problems of youths gathering in Strasbourg Square had just been displaced along the railway walk back to them.

And there was a series of similar issues raised by residents all along the railway walk from there to Tesco, with particular problems affecting Yeldham Place and Wortham Place.

The meeting was divided into five groups and the issues they raised relayed back by a representative of each group, including local councillors.

Cllr Anne Gower reported from her group that residents in Wortham Place were having their lives made a misery by all sorts of anti-social behaviour - damage to cars, litter, rowdiness, rubbish thrown into their gardens and food thrown at their houses.

It all stemmed, they claimed, from the arrival of the Tesco store.

"They say they never suffered like this before the store came here," said Cllr Gower. "Some have lived there for 20 years but now they are going so far as to say they don't want to live there any more."

There was a similar story from Cllr Margaret Marks' group, which included residents from nearby Yeldham Place.

They complained of anti-social behaviour by groups of youths up to 30 strong gathered outside Tesco and intimidating shoppers by drinking and being abusive and aggressive.

"They say this is preventing people coming shopping at night," she said, "and if the youths are displaced by the police they just go to the Aeroplane Park."

Town centre manager Tina Hanks spoke for a group and highlighted youths congregating outside shops in Strasbourg Square and trying to get people to buy cigarettes for them.

They also complained of 12 to 17-year-olds drinking alcohol along the railway walk, and that Polish people littered the area with their cans and bottles late at night, and even early in the morning when men were seen urinating in the bushes at 9am.

All the residents asked for a greater police presence to deter the activities at the time when they happened and urged that police shift patterns should be changed to allow for this.

Other groups complained about inconsiderate parking on verges and kerbs throughout the town and wanted police to punish the offenders under new legislation allowing for fines of 70.

Another group highlighted the problem of anti-social dog-owners not keeping animals on a lead so that they frightened pedestrians.

One group from the Thurlow Place area said they had been terrorised by one dog in particular for two years and police and the dog warden had failed to do anything about it, even when someone was bitten.

Faced with this barrage of issues, Haverhill's police chief, Insp Chris Galley, attempted to boil them down into the required three priorities, while also urging that anti-social behaviour around the Leiston Road shops area on the Clements estate should be retained as a priority because a lot of good work had been done there which needed to be built on.

He said he would look into the claims about the particular dangerous dog, but that a blanket priority about dogs in Haverhill was too wide to monitor successfully.

Similarly parking in Haverhill was too general, but residents asked police to begin with parking in Shetland Road, which was agreed as a priority.

The third priority lumped together all the anti-social activity along the railway walk from Tesco to the Aeroplane Park.

Insp Galley said the SNT was not just a police organisation, but a partnership with numerous other agencies including local authorities.

A series of initiatives to deal with anti-social behaviour along the line of the railway walk, which had been a problem for some time, had been put to St Edmundsbury Borough Council, but each one had been 'declined' due to cost.

But he said with the level of complaint shown at the meeting the SNT could go back to the council and ask it to reconsider.

Haverhill Online News

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