Joint Working Party Update 22/06/2020

Published: 25 June 2020

Joint Working Party Update 22/06/2020

The PC held a meeting on the 16th of June to put a resolution to the Council that it would sanction a combined working party with the Residents’ Association in order to work towards dealing with the anti-social behaviour, including drug dealing and substance abuse, and traffic issues that have been occurring around the Lakes and surrounding area. The PC sanctioned this and appointed Councillors Dave Burgess, Jason Adams and Dermot O’Brien.

The RA held a Committee on the 17th of June with a similar proposal and this was also sanctioned and Committee members Sarah Adams, Jo Wilday and Ewen Cunningham were elected.

The first working party meeting was held on the 18th June and minutes were prepared by Sarah Adams.

The key issues identified were:

· ASB in and around Malthouse Lane, the causeway, the leisure park and the Lakes;

· Parking in Malthouse Lane, the causeway T junction and the leisure park;

· Speeding/dangerous driving on Malthouse Lane and the causeway. ASB, speeding, drugs dealing, drugs usage;

· Drug dealing/usage on the causeway, at the leisure park and around the lakes including the Wood Lane car park;

· Lack of enforcement by the appropriate agencies at key times;

· Failure by various agencies to take responsibility for relevant issues.

A number of possible solutions were discussed and some concerns were expressed about finding resolutions that simply pushed the issues a few hundred yards away.

Possible closure of the causeway was discussed. Concern was expressed that winter closure, combine with the failure to grit Springbrook Lane could make it difficult for residents to leave their homes. There was also the possibility that a traffic free causeway might be a magnet for groups to gather, resulting in ASB and drug use/dealing.

Funding had been identified by Cllr Horner over a year ago to implement a clearway over the causeway, meaning that the police could take enforcement action, rather than WCC Highways. However, action appears to have stalled. Information now received indicates that this has now been cancelled. Dave Burgess has already contacted Paul Taylor at WCC Highways to find out why and to see what resolutions to this problem WCC Highways have to offer.

The closing of the parking area at the bottom of the dip in Valley Road was also discussed as a “quick fix” due to it being connected with drug dealing. Suggestions were using large silage bales or tree trunks to prevent parking. However, on further investigation, it transpires that the car park is being used as a school bus pick-up and drop off point. Although this is private land, we have asked SMBC who to speak to re changing the pickup/drop off point.

It was agreed that it was important to identify what local people wanted. So, residents would be consulted about any proposals to alleviate the issues identified. This would be done by means of an independently run and analysed survey of the residents in the roads affected i.e. Malthouse Lane, Cloweswood Lane, Small Lane, Springbrook Lane and Valley Road, including Earlsmere and Wood Lane.

It was agreed that SDC would conduct the survey independently and return the analysed results. The PC has made funds available for this. A draft of what the WP believes the issues to be has now been prepared by the WP for SDC and SDC is being contacted currently to discuss finalising the process.

Ewen Cunningham

Chair, ASB and Traffic Issues Working Party